Vulcan Works project secures planning permission

Published: Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Northampton Borough Council’s Planning Committee has granted planning permission and resolved to grant listed building consent for the development of a creative hub and Leather Conservation Centre.

The designs include plans for the refurbishment of a Grade II listed building for the University of Northampton’s Institute for Creative Leather Technologies and Leather Conservation Centre as well as a new three-storey office building for businesses within creative industries.

The Vulcan Works building frontage will undergo some restoration but will retain the key characteristics that make up the buildings identity, while existing outbuildings will be demolished to allow the new structure to be built adjacent to the Weights and Measures building on the corner of Angel Street and Fetter Street.

It is proposed that the facility will go on to house bespoke laboratories, workshops and teaching spaces for the University’s leather technology courses as well as lettable units for the creative industries.

Managed workspaces, ranging from 23 to 79 square metres in floor space, will be available to new and existing creative businesses. The 49 flexible units are expected to create up to 300 jobs over 10 years within creative professions such as advertising, architecture, design, arts and crafts and software design services.

Terry Neville, Chief Operating Officer at the University of Northampton, said: “The Vulcan Works will be a place to celebrate the University and Northampton’s rich history of leather craft, and set the tone for the future of the industry as an International Leather Centre.

“Its planned location in the centre of town is part of a bigger campaign to raise the heritage profile of the county of Northamptonshire – not just nationally, but around the world.”

Councillor Tim Hadland, cabinet member for Regeneration, Enterprise and Planning at Northampton Borough Council, said: “This is a big step forward for the project, and although there is much work to do before we can get underway, I remain hopeful construction will commence later this year.

“Northampton is a hive of creativity and this centre will become a focus for that activity, generating real benefits for the businesses involved, and our town centre’s vitality.

“Leather is part of our history but this project is really focussed on our future by ensuring that our Cultural Quarter and creative industries continue to set us apart.”

The redevelopment has secured partial funding from the Local Growth Fund grant, administered by South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP).

It is proposed that the University will enter into a lease to occupy the building, with the potential to manage the creative work spaces on the Council’s behalf.