An imaginative £1m plan to turn historic old buildings into a Creative Village has been unveiled. The old fire station, carriage house, workshop, garage, print works and electricity works between the Canal and the River Ryton will be restored and converted into offices and studios for creative industries like graphics design, architects, craft workshops, animation and video production studios, photography and fashion design. New buildings will provide additional studios as well as toilet facilities.
The development of Worksop Creative Village will create 18 new work units and 15 new jobs.
Economic Development Manager, Robert Wilkinson, says “As an absolute minimum we’ll get much improved workspace and remove an eyesore from the town centre. In addition, positive regeneration initiatives like this improve the attractiveness of adjacent sites for private sector developers.
“These plans are part of a three-pronged approach to regenerating a dilapidated area in Worksop’s town centre. If the scheme is too big it could easily collapse if one of the individual elements making it up fails due to funding or other problems. These might include restrictions imposed by working with listed buildings.
“Extensive work on regenerating conservation areas has taught us to break the larger project into discrete elements, which can stand by themselves. In this case, the Canalside site is one of three elements of a bigger conservation area. The other two are the Canch including the library area and the Worksop Priory area.
“The Canch is already undergoing considerable regeneration covering the adiZone, fountains, footbridges and pathway infrastructure improvements. The Worksop Priory area is subject to heritage restoration around the Gatehouse and the Community Hall, as well as Bassetlaw District Council improving the Priorswell Road car park.
“The Worksop Creative Village project ‘bites off’ the middle section of the Canalside site, initially in two phases. The Canch project links to the site via a footbridge.
“Our research shows that locating creative industries close together makes for easy interaction between people working in different creative disciplines. It’s worked extremely well elsewhere, resulting in vibrant work zones where people thoroughly enjoy developing exciting ideas into commercial propositions.”
Portfolio holder for Community Prosperity and Deputy Leader of the Council, Keith Isard, added, “There’s a wealth of creative talent in Bassetlaw and our investigations show that there’s a good deal of interest in the idea of Bassetlaw having it’s own creative village. Studios or craft workshops within 15 miles of Worksop are fully occupied and there is sufficient demand for dedicated creative workspaces at this site rather than office space.
“Of the respondents surveyed 90% of felt that a Creative Village would be a benefit to them and 73% of businesses consulted expressed the need for this type of facility.
“There’s additional demand from 45-50 businesses for creative industries workspace. In line with managed workspace and clusters, the respondents indicated they’re willing to travel up to 30 minutes to a suitable facility. The Worksop site is a 35-minute train journey to Sheffield, which may provide additional demand”
Now that Cabinet approval has been given to proceeding with the project, the tender for the construction and refurbishment work will go out at the end of November. Once the tender has been awarded work is due to begin in the middle of May 2011 with completion due at the end of February 2012.
The existing tenants are on short-term lets and have been made aware of the potential for redeveloping the site. They will be given six months notice to leave and helped to find suitable alternative premises.
Thanks to Roger Bunting for reminding me about this.