WORK on the first phase of the ambitious £6.1 million project to regenerate Tamworth town centre with the creation of an enterprise quarter will start in the next few months.
The first stage of the project will be the transformation of the Philip Dix Centre in Corporation Street into a Business and Enterprise Centre, to provide accommodation for entrepreneurs and encourage the start-up of new businesses.
These works will include the demolition of the former toilet block in Aldergate to create additional parking, as well as the demolition of the kiosk.
Improvement works to Tamworth Library will also take place during the first phase of the building programme.
Tamworth Borough Council has been working closely with the tenants and hirers of the Philip Dix Centre since the beginning of 2015, keeping them informed of the progress of the project and helping them to identify alternative accommodation, including that at Marmion House.
Following the decision by Cabinet at its meeting on Thursday to take the project forward to the next stage, formal consultation with all tenants and users of the Philip Dix Centre will now begin. Tamworth Borough Council will continue to support them during the process, which is expected to take six months.
The transformation of the Philip Dix Centre into an Enterprise & Business Centre will mean that the Tamworth Information Centre will also need to find new premises. A full appraisal will now be carried out to look at the short and longer-term options for the TIC.
Cllr Steve Claymore, Cabinet member for Economy & Education, said: “It is great news for Tamworth that work can finally start on the first stage of this huge projects to regenerate Tamworth town centre, which will bring massive benefits to the borough and beyond.
“We have been working over the past year with those groups who use the Philip Dix Centre to help them find other accommodation and that support will continue.
“We will also now be looking at all options for the future delivery of tourist information in Tamworth to fit in with the needs of the regenerated Tamworth town centre.”
The works which are due to get under way in the coming months are part of the wider £5.5 million project to develop a Creative Quarter in the heart of Tamworth town centre.
The development of the Creative Quarter will also include the refurbishment and extension of Tamworth Assembly Rooms, the redevelopment of the Carnegie Centre as a restaurant, improvements to the library and surrounding area and creation of a new public open space.
The project – a partnership initiative led by Tamworth Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council – is expected to create around 100 jobs and attract additional private investment. An independent economic impact assessment which was carried out ahead of the funding bid showed that the development of a Creative Quarter could potentially add £13 million to the town’s economy by 2019.
Cllr Claymore said: “This project is a classic example of how this Council collaborates and works with others who share our vision and passion for improving the town and building upon all the great things it already has to offer. By finding new and innovative ways of promoting the centre of this historic market town in a way that complements the offer at Ventura Park, we will have a cultural, retail and leisure offer that will draw people from across the region.
“The regeneration of Tamworth Assembly Rooms and the wider Creative Quarter project will have a major positive impact on our town centre for businesses, visitors and residents by encouraging new and small businesses to operate in the town centre and attracting additional visitors. It will also allow us to secure the future of Tamworth Assembly Rooms, to ensure that it continues to welcome and serve audiences for generations to come.”