WORK to transform the Philip Dix Centre into a Business Enterprise Centre to provide 15 offices to rent to new and growing businesses, is due to start in the next few weeks.
The creation of the Business Enterprise Centre is the first construction project to begin in the ambitious £6.1 million project to regenerate Tamworth town centre with the creation of an Enterprise Quarter.
Building work is due to start in the next few weeks, and is expected to be completed by the end of March 2017.
The refurbishment of the Philip Dix Centre will provide 15 offices to rent on ‘easy in, easy out’ terms – meaning tenants will not be tied in to long leases. The Business Enterprise Centre will provide accommodation for entrepreneurs and encourage the start-up of new businesses with low set-up costs.
The Business Enterprise Centre will provide a range of services and facilities including 100Mb broadband, meeting rooms for hire, virtual offices, accommodation addresses, message handling, conference facilities, business lunches and refreshments, photocopying, scanning and other additional services.
The facilities will also be available for hire to external organisations and individuals.
Cllr Steve Claymore, Cabinet member for Regeneration, said: “It is great news for Tamworth that work is finally about to start on the first stage of this huge project to regenerate Tamworth town centre, which will bring massive benefits to the borough and beyond.”
He added: “The Enterprise Quarter project has been in the planning stage for a number of years and now we are finally about to start work on the first phase. The creation of a Business Enterprise Centre at the heart of Tamworth will give a valuable boost to those new start-up companies and will, in turn, attract more inward investment by showing that Tamworth is open for business.”
The building, which was constructed in 1911, started out as a Drill Hall for the newly-formed Territorial Army. It contains a number of war memorials, which will be retained and protected during the refurbishment.
The development of the Enterprise 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 creation of a Business Enterprise Centre is the first phase of the wider Enterprise Quarter project, which 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.”