Empty Partnership Offices To Re-Open As A New Home For Businesses In Ilkeston
A landmark building in Ilkeston town centre which was the headquarters of enterprise agency Erewash Partnership is to again be a home for businesses.
The Old Police Station has been bought by a company solely-owned by Simon Woods, chairman of Erewash Partnership and managing director of education equipment manufacturer TecQuipment based in Long Eaton, for use by starter and growing businesses and also established businesses looking for high quality premises.
Work has now started on some light refurbishment of the building in Wharncliffe Road, after Mr Wood's company, the Lester Point Pension Trust, bought it from the Midlands Co-op.
The Old Police Station was built in 1906 of red brick and stone. When the new police station opened on Heanor Road the old one lay empty and vandalised until the former Ilkeston Co-op refurbished it for its own use.
Erewash Partnership took over the management of it in 2004 and used it as its headquarters for inspiring enterprise and helping to regenerate the borough. Other firms were based there. It was closed by Midlands Co-op in 2014 and the Partnership moved to Bridge House on Derby Road, Long Eaton.
The Partnership is managing the refurbishment work at The Old Police Station, which will include
installing a new energy-efficient heating system.
It will also be involved with managing lettings at the building - to be known as The Erewash Business Centre - which is likely to be open in summer.
Lester Point Pension Trust will pay for the refurbishment work, with no public or Partnership finance involved.
There are 16 offices – ranging from 15 sq metres to 35 sq metres – a conference room and a large car park. The offices will be let on flexible terms, though one will be used by the Partnership for the delivery of business advice and mentoring.
Partnership chief executive Ian Viles said: “This development is a philanthropic gesture by Simon who is an enthusiastic supporter of enterprise in the area and is putting his own money where his heart is!
“It is a case of the Partnership working with a private sector investor rather than the local authority.
We are using our track record of redeveloping and operating this type of facility to help businesses start and those that are looking to expand.
“This is an exciting time for the Partnership. It provides much-needed high quality office accommodation which complements that operated by the Partnership at Castledine House on Heanor Road.
“We did not want to see this important building staying empty. The scheme is a win, win, win situation for the Partnership, Ilkeston, and for businesses.”
Simon said: “I'm delighted to be working with the Partnership on this scheme that will see The Old Police Station occupied again, help businesses and hopefully bring new jobs to the heart of Ilkeston.
“I feel proud that I'm putting something back into the community and the town centre which has been hit by closures and job losses. This is another demonstration that the Partnership has not turned its back against Ilkeston, but is expanding its vital work in regenerating the area.”
Renovation Of Ground Floor At Castledine House
Derbyshire County Council vacated the ground floor premises on July 29th 2011. In order to upgrade the accommodation and create office / work / training space that is of a high specification, the following works are to be undertaken:
Window Frontage - Planning permission and building regulations have been secured for the removal of the ground floor windows and doors – currently in poor decorative order and condition. These will be replaced by UPVC double glazed windows and doors in Partnership green. Brick work will be cleaned; stall risers and corbels will be reinstated in keeping with the ‘Victorian’ facade. Uplighters will be installed.
It is anticipated the above works will lift the visual external appearance of the building and the lower section of Heanor Road.
Internal Modifications – The ground floor will be fully decorated, removing existing anaglypta. All wall surfaces will be sanded and repaired walls as appropriate and painted in a neutral colour.
Skirting Boards – existing skirting will be replaced / repaired and repainted to create a clean and uniform ‘look’ to each office space.
Ceilings – existing ceiling tiles will be removed and replaced using 1200 * 600mm plaster tiles – these will be clean and bright providing better insulation and a higher fire rating.
A new kitchen area will be developed – this will ‘free up’ space in the reception area and create a safe, purpose built functional zone for the preparation of foods and beverages.
Floor Coverings - all floor coverings will be removed and replaced with either a hard wearing roll carpet or carpet tiles.
The above alterations will transform a ‘tired looking’ area of approximately 3000 sq ft into a safe, warm and inviting area for business to thrive.
Cotmanhay Enterprise Centre
The Cotmanhay Enterprise Centre was set up in an unused and near derelict building that was part of Bennerley School in what was and still is a deprived area of Erewash.
The refurbished Centre was supported from 1997-2002 by the Government’s Single Regeneration Budget and public money from other sources including European Social Fund helped it to continue, enabling residents to access education in a supportive and non-threatening environment.
The Centre – which was used by a staggering and impressive figure of more than 1,000 people a year to get training, education, and community advice - was that the many activities were community-led.
The Centre was the brainchild of former Cotmanhay resident and Partnership chief executive Ian Viles. In 1997 Ian was inspired by a lecture he heard with the theme ‘learning pays’ and he thought of a centre that offered people a supportive atmosphere to build confidence through attending courses on a range of subjects and practical activities.
However, the Partnership has been affected by the financial difficulties in the public and private sector and directors were forced to close the centre in May 2011 as external funding dwindled and stopped.
Chris Pienaar, who worked on a regeneration programme called Local Alchemy, funded by East Midlands Development Agency, said the centre stood out as a beacon of good practice. This was because the centre was staffed by local people who cared for it and because of a good working relationship between the Partnership and local government.
Castledine House Renovation
Erewash Partnership masterminded the renovation and refurbishment of an early 20th century building in Heanor Road, part of which was used by Derbyshire County Council for community education, and part of which was residential or empty for some time.
It involved converting most of the two upper floors into 11 offices, installing a lift to the first floor, putting in new windows and cleaning the frontage.
The offices, which are able to support more than 20 jobs, are now offered to start-ups and new businesses at a commercial rate but on ‘easy-in and easy-out’ terms – flexible packages that mean occupiers do not get tied up with long leases.
They range in size from 116 sq ft to 255 sq ft. Most are more than 200 sq ft in size.
Part of the cost was met in the form of a £142,000 grant from Derby and Derbyshire Economic Partnership. The remaining costs were met by the Partnership and loan from the Co-operative Bank.
Ian Viles, chief executive of Erewash Partnership, said: “We identified a need for quality office accommodation for new and growing businesses on easy terms and put this scheme together.
“This project proved a good investment, both for the Partnership and for the businesses that have started there.
“Surplus income from the project is being reinvested in supporting the advice of people starting businesses in the area.”
Although this was the first project of its type for the Partnership it already had experience of running such schemes – it manages The Old Police Station business centre on Wharncliffe Road on behalf of owners Midlands Co-op.
Building work was completed by the Resurrection Group, to drawings by Midland Building Design Practice of Long Eaton. Both firms are Partnership Members.
Golden Hello Shop Premise Grant
The Golden Hello Shop Premise grant allows new, existing, and relocating businesses the opportuntity to receive a £1000 grant if they decide to occupy a vacant unit in either Ilkeston or Long Eaton town centres.
University Of Derby
We are involved with four projects in total with Derby University. Enterprise Inc. and Start Up & Go deal with advising and training graduate and undergraduate entrepreneurs, and the second, The Ingenuity Programme, is raising awareness of specialist skills workshops. There has been a further addition to this programme whereby intensive consultancy can be
offered to local businesses in Derbyshire. The third is the most expansive. Innovation Axis is a complete programme of awareness events, knowledge transfer groups, skills workshops, best practice visits and consultancy. All these projects are Derbyshire wide.
These programmes have been one of the most successful and effective business support models that we have ever been involved with. These programmes have proved every bit as successful as in previous years. We are looking at ways to continue with elements of the programmes, regardless of any funding that may arise. Our university linkages are extremely strong now.
Introduction Of CCTV
Between 1995 and 1997 the Partnership in conjunction with Erewash Borough Council submitted successful bids to the Home Office Challenge Fund for over £250,000 towards the installation of CCTV in Ilkeston and Long Eaton town centres.
Businesses in both towns came forward with pledges of support and ideas. The project provided comprehensive coverage for both towns and was officially switched on by Home Office Minister David Maclean.
HERS Scheme - Lower Bath Street
One of the projects managed by the Partnership involved Erewash Borough Council and English Heritage (EH) in the regeneration of run down parts of Ilkeston town centre.
Ilkeston is situated midway between Nottingham and Derby. It is considered to be the best Victorian market town in Derbyshire and it has the third biggest shopping centre in the county. Town centre developments such as the building of a shopping precinct and a bye-pass changed the dynamics of the town centre. Consequently, the northern part of the shopping area fell into disrepair. Subsequent street improvements and the installation of CCTV helped to improve the situation but 25 per cent of the 100+ shops remained boarded up and about 50 per cent of the upper floors were empty.
In 2001 the Partnership joined forces with the Borough Council and EH to manage a Heritage Economic Regeneration Scheme (HERS) in the area. This conservation led scheme focused primarily on grant aiding the repair and restoration of historic commercial buildings. It also encouraged the bringing back of upper floors into use and the community use of buildings and enabled environmental works.
Grant offers were made on over 30 buildings. The investment in the area exceeded £1 million, of which over £300,000 was public funding. More than twenty new flats, assisted in meeting sustainability and environmental targets and local housing needs. The East Midlands Development Agency (EMDA) also contributed £250,000 towards comprehensive street improvements in Bath Street, Ilkeston.
The Partnership’s £2.5 million SRB project ran from April 1996 to March 2001 and focussed on Cotmanhay and north Ilkeston.
Funds were used for a series of innovative projects aimed at tackling crime, improving health and reducing unemployment in the area. The programme provided training for over 600 people, helped nearly 50 new businesses start up and improved the security of at 400 homes.
Other projects included improvements to lower Bath Street including changes to traffic flows, on-street parking, re-paving and road re-surfacing. A new training centre was set up in the area to support the central concept of the initiative of “A Learning Community” – which the Partnership saw as a means to regeneration
Partnership Chief Executive Ian Viles said: “The most exciting aspect of the bid was the synergy created by combining the energies and skills of people living in the area with a wider mix of representatives from the private and public sector.”
Partners included Erewash Borough Council, Derbyshire County Council, Police, Cotmanhay Community Concern (now Community Concern Erewash), South East Derbyshire College (now Derby College) and local businesses.
Business Unit On Manners Industrial Estate
In the early 1990s the Partnership identified a need for high quality units for starter and growth businesses in the area. Our project aims were to provide quality units for growing and new local businesses and at the same time provide income to the Partnership for reinvestment into economic development projects.
The project was developed by Erewash Partnership Ltd. in conjunction with Colin Smith Partnership (design) and local developer Paul Beecroft (Redmile Developments). Derbyshire County Council was very supportive of the initiative and identified appropriate land on their Manners Industrial Estate in Ilkeston.
The result was nine units from 900 to 2000 square feet, three of which are operated by the Partnership on easy in / easy out terms. Since 2004 those three units alone have enabled the start up and growth of ten businesses – including two micro breweries!
Growth businesses re-located to the site include Premier Electrical Services and Vinyl-Tech (re-upholstery of dentist chairs!)
The official opening ceremony was performed by the Mayor of Erewash, Cllr. Douglas Hodges on 20th August 2004.