County council staff to move into refurbished Kettering hub

The William Knibb Centre in Kettering.
The William Knibb Centre in Kettering.

Northamptonshire County Council staff will move into a revamped hub in Kettering this week.

The council says about 300 staff will be based at the William Knibb Centre in Montagu Street, although many will be on a hot desk basis with 142 desk working spaces.

A number were relocated from Grafton Court in the town and Tithe Barn in Wellingborough, saving the cash-strapped authority about £500,000 a year.

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

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

Cllr Ian Morris, county council cabinet member for transport, highways, environment and public protection, said: “I’m delighted that the building is ready after this substantial refurbishment project, proving a very pleasant contemporary working environment for our staff.

“Bringing hundreds of staff into Kettering town centre also helps local businesses, which is great for the local economy.

“But there is also another benefit in that this allows us to consolidate our assets, which helps bring revenue savings.”

Cllr Mark Dearing, portfolio holder for town centres at Kettering Council said: “We really welcome this positive move by the county council.

“It provides more footfall for the town centre and will be a welcome boost to local shops and businesses.”

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.

EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story said that Tithe Barn would close, based on information provided by Northamptonshire County Council. This is not the case as Wellingborough Council will continue to use this building as its main reception. This building will be open for all borough council enquiries, including those relating to council tax, housing benefit, and housing.