£4 million revamp for one of Kettering’s historic buildings

The William Knibb Centre in Kettering is having a revamp
The William Knibb Centre in Kettering is having a revamp

One of Kettering’s historic buildings is having a £4 million revamp and will become a northern hub for county council staff.

Work is due to finish this month (May) on the William Knibb Centre in Montagu Street and council staff will relocate from other venues across the north of the county.

The £4 million cost for the revamp of the building covers construction, professional fees, IT and furniture.

Works have included doubling the number of desk working spaces to 142 and also including new bookable meeting spaces.

A separate and secure accommodation space for child protection services has also been included and the centre’s two car parks have been resurfaced.

As well as accommodating council staff, the centre is also used by other organisations such as the Youth Works CIC, which provides free and confidential services to 10 to 25-year-olds.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: “The new hub will be used for office provision for NCC staff operating in the north of the county and a meeting facility  for child protection conferences.”

As part of the move the current council-run buildings in Grafton Court in Kettering and Tithe Barn in Wellingborough will close.

Council staff will then work out of the William Knibb centre on a hot desk basis.

The plan to use the centre as a Northern hub for staff was part of the county authority’s next generation working model.

This saw One Angel Square built in Northampton at a cost of £54 million.

The building opened in October 2017 but is being sold to a private equity firm and will be leased back by the council under a 35-year £70 million deal.

Kettering’s red brick Victorian building was built in 1892 and designed by local architect firm Gotch and Saunders.

It was Stamford Road School for many years and had an additional block added in the 1960s.

It is now  named after the town’s famous slave abolitionist William Knibb who went as a baptist missionary to Jamaica in the 1820s and helped to emancipate the African slaves in the British colony.

Last month (April) Kettering councillors voted to move ahead with a proposal to set up a twinning arrangement with Kettering and Knibb’s adopted home-town in Falmouth, Jamaica.