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Vulcan Works Walkaround: West Northamptonshire Councillors explore 55,000 square feet of office and workshop space

12 August 2022

West Northants Councillors at Vulcan Works Group

Northampton’s revamped Vulcan Works played host to a select group of visitors on Tuesday (09 August).

Privy to a tour of the newly refurbished site were Andrew Lewer MP, West Northamptonshire’s councillors, members of the council’s regeneration team, funding partners and operators. They were all were given a guided walkaround of the transformed building, alongside a visionary explanation of what the site will offer local businesses.

Originally a Grade II listed ironworks factory, Vulcan Works was built in 1875 for engineering company Mobbs & Co and was later turned into a leather warehouse. It is considered one of the best surviving engineering works for production of boot and shoe industry machinery. The building has been transformed into a mixture of renovation and new build and is located in the area between Guildhall Road, Angel Street, Fetter Street and St John's Street within Northampton's Cultural Quarter.

Over the past few years it has undergone a £14 million regeneration project which has involved the refurbishment of the old iron stonework factories along Guildhall Road, the refurbishment of the former museum store and the creation of a new three-storey building on the corner of St John's Street and Fetter Street as well as constructing a new block on Angel Street. The development has created 68 lettable units, including office, studio and managed workshop space specifically aimed at start-ups and growing businesses within the creative industry. Units range from 10m2 to 100m2.

South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) facilitated a Local Growth Fund contribution of £6.3 million together with £3.06 million from the European Regional Development Fund. West Northamptonshire Council covered the remaining costs.

It is hope that during its first ten years of operation, Vulcan Works will support up to 150 businesses across the county, creating around 500 jobs.

A company called Oxford Innovations has been contracted to manage the space, deliver business expertise and raise the finance that entrepreneurs need for their businesses to thrive.

“The transformation of the building is remarkable and the design and spec of exceptionally high quality. I am very hopeful for its future in enabling small businesses and start-ups to take that next step along the ladder of success. We have digital and creative arts businesses who are already interested and I have no doubt that the units will fill up very quickly.

“We have high level of growth businesses and start-ups in Northamptonshire but unfortunately we also have a really high failure rate, higher than in some areas of the rest of England. This building and the practical support on offer under its roof with will help to address this problem. Not only are we offering high quality office space but it will come with business a support programme including workshops, seminars, 1:1 coaching, networking and facilitation. With proper support, start-ups, scale ups and small businesses will be enabled to maximise and accelerate their growth and fully contribute to Northampton’s business community.”
Cllr Daniel Lister Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Town Centre Regeneration & Growth
“We’re delighted to formally open the Vulcan Iron works having watched this project develop over the years. The transformation of the former ironworks adds much more than new, quality business units to the town. This is about nurturing the vibrant entrepreneurial culture so prevalent in Northampton. It has created the space dedicated to helping businesses to share ideas, collaborate and grow. We very much hope that it brings a lot of pride to the town.”Hilary Chipping, SEMLEP’s Chief Executive
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