Colchester: Plans to transform old police station into creative business hub set for green light

Go-ahead for new creative hub at old police station expected tonight.

Go-ahead for new creative hub at old police station expected tonight. - Credit: Andrew Partridge

PROPOSALS to redevelop Colchester’s Old Police Station into a creative hub are expected to be given the go-ahead tonight.

Visual arts facility Firstsite was awarded £499,999 towards the development of the building based in Queen Street last month.

The funding from Arts Council England will be used to regenerate 37 Queen Street, a Grade II-listed building in Colchester, creating work and studio spaces for established creative enterprises, artists and start-ups.

Lyn Barton, Colchester Borough Council’s portfolio holder for renaissance, said she would be pleased to see the plans being given the green light.

She said: “They are exciting proposals which are part of our greater vision for the area.

“We were delighted the Creative Business Centre project was awarded the important funding last month.

“It forms a significant part of the funding required to refurbish the Old Police Station and develop a Creative Business Centre, which will offer a flexible hub of spaces for start-up businesses in creative industries.

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“We are making steady progress in these tough economic times and have managed to get nearly £1million funding from various sources which is positive news.”

Wayne Warner, commercial director at Firstsite, said the proposed centre would incorporate advanced technology and develop employment opportunities for local people.

He said: “The Colchester Creative Business Centre will regenerate a mostly derelict building into a vibrant hub of creativity and support the increasing creative sector within the area.

“It will not only bring new employment opportunities to the area through the development of the building, but also develop the right environment for the emergence and expansion of new creative businesses.

“These businesses can then work together and develop an even bigger economic contribution to Colchester and the East of England.”

Helen Lax, regional director, Arts Council, East, explained: “This is a further example of how Firstsite is building upon the success of its first year to widen the role they have in the area.

“Firstsite’s redevelopment of the Old Police House will help progress the regeneration of the Cultural Quarter in Colchester with the creation of workspaces appropriate for both artists and local creative businesses.”

The proposals, which have been granted conditional approval, will go before Colchester Borough Council’s planning committee at the town hall at 6pm.

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