Delayed town centre creative industry hub in Northampton back on track after £3m funding injection

Work will start by next summer on Northampton Borough Council's Vulcan Works project after it won a further £3million fund.

Friday, 28th September 2018, 3:05 pm
Updated Saturday, 29th September 2018, 7:49 am
An early artist's impression of the Vulcan Works scheme from 2014.
An early artist's impression of the Vulcan Works scheme from 2014.

The project, costing £9 million in total, is now out to tender and a contractor is expected to be appointed early in the new year.

In the meantime, demolition work has taken place at the former Amalgamated Tyres site at the junction of Fetter Street and St John’s Street, where archaeological work is set to be carried out.

Once complete, the project will provide 59 lettable units of varying sizes for "creative industries".

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When the project was first announced under David Mackintosh's tenure as borough council leader, the then chief gave 2015 as a completion date - but updates have been few and far between since then.

Last year the University of Northampton pulled out of plans to situate a new creative leather technology and leather conservation centre alongside the distinct Vulvcan Works buildings, leaving the borough council needing to attract a new pool of funding to complete a revised scheme.

That funding bid to the European Regional Development Fund has now been succesful.

Councillor Tim Hadland, cabinet member for regeneration and economic development, said: “We are now in a position to get to work on the project and by autumn 2020 we will have a fantastic new facility at the heart of our Cultural Quarter.

“The units will provide opportunities for start-ups or slightly more established enterprises looking to expand, and there will be communal space where businesses can collaborate with each other.”

The project previously secured a £6.3 million Local Growth Fund contribution from the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP).

Once construction is under way, an external operator will be sought to run it on behalf of the council.

During its first ten years of operation, Vulcan Works is expected to support up to 100 businesses, creating around 300 jobs.