Planning permission for the refurbishment, re-development and extension of the Alfred East Art Gallery, Kettering Library and Manor House Museum has been approved.
GSSArchitecture are leading on the architectural design to transform the facilities, which will improve a valuable visitor destination for Kettering, with works commencing this year in a phased approach.
The unified site will provide a dedicated business support area to expand the existing British Library led Business & IP Centre Northamptonshire, which provides entrepreneurs and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with free access to a wide range of support. The community will enjoy new and upgraded facilities, flexible events and workshop space.
The project secured £3million funding from the Getting Building Fund, which is being administered by SEMLEP, with match funding from Kettering Borough Council and Northamptonshire County Council.
Rochelle Mathieson, Head of Commercial Development at Kettering Borough Council, said, “This exciting investment will act as a catalyst for change, supporting our local economy to thrive, and for our residents and visitors to enjoy an improved cultural facility.
“Cultural-led regeneration is a fundamental element of delivering Kettering Town Centre’s vision to be a vibrant place at the heart of the community that is characterful, distinctive, and fun. We are thrilled to be working with GSSArchitecture on this project.”
Cllr Mark Dearing, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration at Kettering Borough Council, said: “We are absolutely delighted that planning permission has been approved.
“The Gallery, Library and Museum (GLaM) are a tremendous asset and resource, and the upcoming development will strengthen community links, support creative businesses, and visitors will be able to enjoy an array of exciting, new amenities.
“GLaM will harness local passion, creativity, innovation, skills, ideas and develop local talent to grow the economy through Culture led regeneration building on a century’s worth of cultural investment.”
Cllr Lizzy Bowen, Deputy Leader of Northamptonshire County Council, said: “It’s excellent news that this project has been given planning permission and is able to continue moving forward.
“This exciting project will see the Gallery, Library and Museum revitalised and extended to become a cultural hub at the heart of Kettering town centre, whilst also boosting the local economy and supporting local businesses.”
Hilary Chipping, Chief Executive of SEMLEP, said: “When we return to life after lockdown, we will relish the opportunity to enjoy our much loved and much missed arts and cultural spaces.
“SEMLEP recognises the contribution places like GLaM make to our towns and communities, positively impacting our individual wellbeing through to boosting our local economy. The improvement will be an asset to Kettering.”