A BUILDING conservation specialist has been awarded a multi-million-pound contract to start work on the first project in the regeneration of Leamington’s Old Town.
Croft Building & Conservation has signed a £4.2million contract with regeneration specialists Complex Development Projects (CDP) to restore and convert three derelict buildings in Spencer Yard into office space for creative and digital businesses.
The largest building is the grade II listed United Reformed Church built in Neo-Classical style in 1838. Enabling works have been recently completed which have fully restored the roof in advance of the main conversion works.
The conversion will create new modern offices, while retaining the heritage features of the building including the beautiful stained glass windows and cast iron gallery columns which will be restored. The open plan office space will feature a triple height central atrium, with the crypt transformed into break-out spaces and office pods.
The ambitious plans also involve refurbishing the adjacent former nursery to provide flexible creative space with a new ground floor extension at the rear of its premises and a rooftop terrace overlooking the church.
On the opposite side of Spencer Yard, the Crown Building, once the home of camouflage designers during the Second World War, is being extended with a new second floor to provide six units for smaller businesses.
The scheme has received a grant from the Future High Streets Fund as part of the Government’s plan to renew and reshape town centres – making them a more attractive place to live, work and visit.
CDP is Warwick District Council’s (WDC) Regeneration Partner in the ten-year Creative Quarter initiative which takes a comprehensive approach to the Old Town’s regeneration as a destination for creative businesses. Multiple projects are planned to transform the area and take advantage of the town’s Silicon Spa reputation.
WDC leader coun Andrew Day said: “This imaginative partnership has broken through and enabled an innovative scheme to come forward for this long-overlooked heritage precinct. The major investment being made will encourage our exciting, world-class creative and digital businesses to flourish, bringing hundreds of new jobs and putting some sparkle back into our town.”
Katie Burn, Senior Development Executive at CDP, said this was its second heritage project with Croft Building & Conservation and they had been impressed with their craftsmanship and attention to detail.
She added: “These buildings have been sitting there unused for decades and their restoration would not have been possible without the firm partnership with WDC and the grant they have secured from the Future High Streets Fund. We expect to be completing the first of the buildings in the summer of next year.”
Ollie Chance, Director of Croft Building & Conservation, said the firm was “extremely proud and excited” to be part of such an important project.
He added: “It’s always great to see these unloved urban spaces re-purposed, bringing a new lease of life whilst also preserving the heritage on site. A great community space for creatives.”