Work begins on creative enterprise centre

WORK on St Neots s £1.6million creative enterprise centre began this week with a turf-cutting ceremony at the Longsands campus site. The four-storey building, designed to be home to the emerging creative businesses that the district s economic planners ho

WORK on St Neots's £1.6million creative enterprise centre began this week with a turf-cutting ceremony at the Longsands campus site.

The four-storey building, designed to be home to the emerging creative businesses that the district's economic planners hope will play a vital part in the town's future, will have close links with Longsands College. The school has specialist status for media technology, English and information communication technology.

The centre will also work closely with the adjacent Huntingdonshire Regional College local site, which is a centre of excellence for both manufacturing and management, and boats of excellent photography and design faculties.

It has been commissioned by Huntingdonshire District Council and is jointly funded by the council, the Department for Communities and Local Government and the East of England Development Agency, whose contribution will provide high grade internal fittings and fixtures, external landscaping, car parking, and possibly renewable energy schemes.


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The strikingly unusual design consists of an exposed concrete frame with a set of light, interconnecting spaces with public rooms and training space on the ground floor and a large shared studio at first floor level. On the upper two floors, creative companies will each have their own "hut", enclosed in cedar, that cantilever out beyond the frame, the council says. A 'working garden' on the roof allows broad views out over Priory Park.

The centre forms part of a wider strategy for the district to nurture new businesses and cultivate specialist skills for local people. Creative industries offer the potential to be a major factor for sustained economic growth in Huntingdonshire. They depend on individual creativity and skill to generate prosperity and range from music through to marketing and advertising, architecture, furniture-making, software development and fashion design.

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HDC vice-chairman, Councillor John Davies, is pictured cutting the first sod at the site last week, with, from left, council leader Cllr Ian Bates, Ruth Clapham, chairman of governors at Longsands College, Rob Whatmough, principal of Longsands College, and Cllr Andrew Hansard, executive councillor for resources and policy.

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