Warwickshire County Council has ratified the Cabinet decision to invest nearly £19.5 million of its Capital Investment Fund to continue the Transforming Nuneaton project and build a new library, café and business centre in the town.
As well as providing a new library fit for the 21st century, the investment is being heralded as being a key landmark in creating a vibrant economy in the town centre. It will attract businesses and unlock other land in the area for private sector development.
The development is earmarked for the Church Street area currently occupied by Wilkos, Powell House and the Royal Mail. The buildings and land are owned by Warwickshire County Council and Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, having been acquired with funding from the Government’s Local Growth Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP).
Ongoing development is already taking place in Vicarage Street with the creation of a 50 retirement apartment scheme.
The new building to be funded by the allocation approved by Cabinet will comprise a library, café and business centre. This will be an L-shaped structure, with the library and cafe occupying the ground floor, and accommodating pods for registration services, ‘make a space’, the town’s first fully accessible changing and toilet facility and an informal event space.
The first floor will consist of office space for county council staff and a reception area for the business centre which will become part of the county council’s suite of business centres and generate revenue for the county council once occupancy reaches the target level. It will offer approximately 70 flexible-lease offices, aimed at small start-ups.
The design incorporates photovoltaic panels, electric vehicle charging points, showers and cycle-stores to encourage zero carbon travel.
Councillor Izzi Seccombe, Leader and portfolio holder for economic development at Warwickshire County Council, said: “This is fantastic news for Nuneaton and the biggest landmark to date for the Transforming Nuneaton project.
“It will create a superb community facility in the shape of the library and café which will bring people into the town and provide a real focal point for the community. The top class facilities will make it a real asset to the community and fit for purpose in the 21st century.
“The business centre will also be a major boon for the town centre, bringing in a sense of entrepreneurship and inspiration, creating jobs in the area and providing a base of people who will be coming to the town centre and spending time there. It is a major step in us creating the town centre that Nuneaton deserves and reinvigorating the local area.”
Cllr Julie Jackson, Leader of Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council said: “I am delighted to see the Transforming Nuneaton project making headway. There was an identified need to provide a broader choice of premises for small to medium enterprises, and the diverse range that the centre will allow makes an attractive offer for fledgling businesses and entrepreneurs.
“The next steps will be to look to private developers to continue the evolution of the town centre once the gateway has been completed. All of these assets combined will help to build a town fit for future generations and one that exceeds expectations.”
Nick Abell, vice chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “It is great to see the project progressing. This is a major landmark in transforming the area into the town which will encourage more leisure and business visitors to a key part of Warwickshire.
“The business centre which will be created will encourage more SMEs to base their enterprises in Nuneaton which will be a boost to the economy and the business sector.”