Cash from North Northants Council’s (NNC) reserves will have to be used to finish the £4,060,100 flagship project to extend Alfred East Art Gallery and Kettering Library.
In August 2020, the now defunct Kettering Borough Council (KBC) secured £3,000,000 from the Getting Building Fund, administered by South-East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP).
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Match funded by KBC – a total capital project value of £3,940,000 – a further £120,100 was allocated from the KBC and Northamptonshire County Council’s library property betterment
Cllr Jason Smithers, leader of NCC, said: “It’s important that the building works are finished as soon as possible to avoid further costly delays.
“Cornerstone will bring many benefits to the wider community and attract visitors, helping boost the local economy. I’m really looking forward to seeing it complete.”
The decision whether to release the extra £412,000 – an additional 10 per cent of funding designed to regenerate Kettering’s cultural quarter will be discussed at a meeting of NNC’s Executive next week.
Executive members will consider a report that recommends a further boost of capital funds to ensure that the main building work will be completed this summer.
Since the start of the project it has been dogged by supply chain issues, labour shortages and rising costs due to inflation, further impacted by the war in Ukraine – added to Covid outbreaks on site which has led to some small delays.
Because of the challenges, and the fact that the cost of materials has now increased, an additional £412,000 contingency is now needed to cover additional costs and ensure the summer deadline is met to prevent further costly delays.
Cllr Helen Howell, the council’s Deputy Leader and Executive member for Sport, Leisure, Culture and Tourism, said: “It’s really positive that the project is progressing despite the challenges and we’re starting to see the many elements coming together. Once complete it will be a wonderful addition to the town and also to the wider North Northamptonshire area.
“It’s essential that now the main capital works are so near to completion that we get the project over the line and this new funding boost will make that a reality.”
An August 2022 opening date may still be possible if there are no further problems – the original completion date was ‘spring’.
In addition to the SEMLEP commercial space created in the new hub, eight new jobs will be on offer.
Once complete, Cornerstone will provide flexible workspace and exhibition space supporting start-ups, with support provided by the British Library led Business and IP Centre (BIPC) Northamptonshire.
As well as two new events / workshop spaces, café and external terrace and improved public gardens on the site, enabling a wider range of events and activities including commercial events and opportunities.
Once the main building work has been completed it is anticipated that the full services will be mobilised in several phases over the first six months.