Old council offices in Northampton set to offer a new home for artists

An old council office is set to be converted into a studio for artists after planning officers recommended the scheme be approved.

Friday, 17th January 2020, 11:55 am
Updated Friday, 17th January 2020, 11:56 am
NN Contemporary Art has outgrown its premises at 9 Guildhall Road (pictured on the left) which is opposite the museum
NN Contemporary Art has outgrown its premises at 9 Guildhall Road (pictured on the left) which is opposite the museum

NN Contemporary Art, a registered charity which offers studio space for people at all stages of their career, has outgrown its current premises at 9 Guildhall Road in Northampton town centre.

Now an application by Northampton Borough Council is proposing to move the organisation across the road to a section of County Hall at 24 Guildhall Road.

The neo-Georgian building, which is opposite the Royal and Derngate, was constructed in 1935 and was a former County Council office. It now, however, form parts of the museum development, and would play a key part in the ‘cultural quarter’ with the museum set to open later this year and work continuing on the Vulcan Works project.

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The County Hall offices on the corner of Guildhall Road and Angel Street, which is where the studios would move to

Members of the borough council’s own planning committee will determine next Tuesday (January 21) whether to follow the advice of officers and grant the scheme.

A report, which will be read by councillors on the committee, states: “The development as proposed is acceptable and would contribute to the aims of regenerating the town centre and providing a cultural focus within Derngate Conservation Area and a viable long term use for the existing buildings.”

The submitted application is the first of two expected phases for the space. Phase one would see the creation of a reception and seating area, project space, nine artist studios offering work and research space for artists, an education room for 10 people with audio-visual technology for presentations, a staff room, an office for the CEO, a kitchen and toilets.

There are further plans for a second phase which could offer a new gallery, but this is not included in the current application.

The board for NN Contemporary Art is made up of members of the Northampton Art Collective (NAC), which formed in 2003 and utilised the Fishmarket as a gallery until it was knocked down to make way for North Gate bus station.