Work to start on £6.5 million cultural business hub in Northampton in spring

Artists impressions of the new Vulcan works development on Guildhall Road.
Artists impressions of the new Vulcan works development on Guildhall Road.

Works to build a £6.5 million cultural hub for up to 100 creative businesses in the centre of Northampton is set to begin in spring.

Papers set to go before Northampton Borough Council’s cabinet on March 4 have revealed more details on the project to convert the former Vulcan Iron Works buildings on Guildhall Road, Fetter Street and Angel Street in the town’s cultural quarter.

The existing 19th century building will be refurbished and redeveloped as a managed workspace for up to 100 cultural business, creating up to 400 jobs over ten years.

The Vulcan Works project, set to take 18 month to complete, will be financed partly by money from the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership’s (SEMLEP) Local Growth Deal fund, which will be made available in the 2016/17 budget.

Yesterday it was revealed Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (NEP) will make a loan to the borough council to allow the work to begin straight away, which will be repaid when the SEMLEP funding becomes available.

The borough council will also contribute £650,000 from its own resources to the project.

Leader of Northampton Borough Council Councillor David Mackintosh (Con Rectory Farm), said: “Northampton’s Cultural Quarter is built on the well-established attractions of the Royal & Derngate, 78 Derngate, the NN Gallery and our own museum.

“I am proud that we have so many major new developments that are taking our cultural quarter forward to the next level and that are such an important part of the Northampton Alive programme of regeneration that is currently transforming the town.”

A report being considered by Northampton Borough Council’s cabinet next week, also updates on the wider Cultural Quarter area, which is undergoing a number of other projects as part of the Northampton Alive programme.

The report details how Northampton Museum and Art Gallery will be redeveloped to double the amount of gallery space and create a restaurant and retail facilities. The council says it is close to awarding the design works contract for the building.

It is hoped that the town’s Museum of Leathercraft will also be found a “suitable space” within the Cultural Quarter, a spokesperson for the council said.