Council appoints contractor for £14m creative hub

Artist’s impression of the Vulcan Works creative hub project.

Contractor Stepnell has been appointed by Northampton Borough Council to build a £14m creative hub which could create around 300 jobs.

Work is set to start on the project, which includes the refurbishment of Grade II-listed former Vulcan Works – once at the forefront of Northampton’s internationally-renowned shoe industry – and the construction of a brand-new three-storey building.

The overall scheme will create 59 studios, workshops and offices available to let by creative businesses with the focus on start-ups and fledgling companies.

The council predicts the facility will create up to 300 jobs in the first ten years, supporting up to 100 businesses. The construction of the overall scheme – which was designed by Zoë Skelding at Purcell architects, is expected to be complete in the autumn of 2020.

Now disused, the red-brick Vulcan Works building was originally constructed in around 1875 for the Henry Mobbs engineering firm which made shoe and boot machinery.

It later became a leather warehouse.

A number of rundown outbuildings will be demolished to enable the construction of the three- and four- storey building in Angel Street.

Cllr Tim Hadland, cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, says: “This scheme has been some time in the making and we are delighted that we should have contractors on site within weeks.

“Northampton is one of the most entrepreneurial places in the country and Vulcan Works will provide space for new businesses to establish and thrive.

“This means that, with current work on the extension and renovation of the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery, we’ve been able to commit around £22m into our blossoming cultural quarter during the past year.”

Stepnell contracts manager John Neill added: “Stepnell will draw on a wealth of new-build and conservation construction expertise to deliver this imaginative project for Northampton’s emerging Cultural Quarter. We’re excited to be involved in a scheme which will conserve a building of such importance to Northampton’s industrial heritage as well as delivering vibrant, modern workspaces where creative businesses can flourish.”

The scheme has attracted £3.06m from the European Regional Development Fund as well as a £6.3m Local Growth Fund contribution from the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership.
Artist’s impression of the Vulcan Works creative hub project.

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