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Published Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Cabinet at Northampton Borough Council is set to discuss the future of the Vulcan Works project during its meeting on Wednesday, 6 December.

The project to provide managed workspaces within the town’s cultural quarter was first envisaged in 2014.

Then last year, the scheme was changed to accommodate the University of Northampton’s Creative Leather Technology and Leather Conservation Centre.

The University’s intentions have since changed meaning it wants to use alternative accommodation for those elements but may still want space at the Vulcan. This has led to review of the phasing and financing of the project.

As a result, the Borough Council is now seeking further European funding to provide a greater degree of managed workspace than initially envisaged.

This will provide an incubator offering the right environment for creative businesses to start up and grow, which might be of particular interest to university graduates.

Cllr Tim Hadland, Cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and planning, said: “While it is a shame that the leatherworking hub can no longer be a part of the scheme, we continue to work toward the University having a presence within it.

“As a result, though, we now have the possibility of creating more business units than we originally envisaged with only slight changes to the design.

“Of course, we will have to wait and see if our application for further funding is approved, which will take several months, but we are confident.

“In the meantime, we will be taking another look at the business model to ensure that, if we are able to proceed, it offers the very best return for the taxpayer.”

A funding application has been made to the European Structural Investment Fund (ESIF) with the help of specialists Amion Consulting.

If this is approved, Cabinet should be in a position to consider a further proposal by October 2018.

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