PLANS for the development of new workspace in Leicester’s Cultural Quarter are set to get a boost with investment in a key building. Leicester City Council has approved £18,000 of match-funding to help kick-start the redevelopment of the Carron Buildings, 35 Rutland Street, as part of ongoing work to encourage the reuse of empty buildings in the area.
The four-storey building – which dates back to 1900 – is currently vacant and occupies a key location on Orton Square, where it forms part of the entrance into St George’s Churchyard. Owners Moorhouse Construction Ltd are proposing to redevelop the building with a bar or restaurant planned for the ground floor and basement, and around 750 square metres of commercial workspace on the upper three floors.
The council grant will cover around half of the initial design and development costs and help the owners progress the potential scheme to planning stage. Cllr Sue Waddington, assistant city mayor with responsibility for the Cultural Quarter, said: “It is vital that we continue to offer support to kick-start new development, attract further investment and increase the availability of workspace in the Cultural Quarter.
“Working closely with private owners to encourage new development and bring empty buildings back into meaningful and appropriate use is essential to the future growth and prosperity of this important area.
“The Carron Building is in a key location, right on the entrance into St George’s Churchyard, and the proposed scheme has the potential to bring something very valuable to the Cultural Quarter.”
Ian Moorhouse, Managing Director of Moorhouse Construction Ltd, said: “We are very much focused on developing the Carron Building. The financial support of the council, as well as the valued advice and help offered, has made it possible for us to begin the design and planning work on this very exciting project.”
Supporting the conversion of heritage buildings for additional creative and cultural businesses workspace, and encouraging more cafes, bars and restaurants in the area, are key priorities of the city council’s Economic Action Plan and Cultural Quarter Action Plan. Last summer, Leicester City Council approved £150,000 to support the redevelopment of the Grade II-listed Shahista House, which overlooks Orton Square.
An earlier council grant of £74,000 supported the redevelopment of a vacant building at 68-70 Humberstone Gate. This reopened as Echo Factory – a creative music academy and performance venue – in July 2016. The support has been funded with cash set aside to help deliver the Leicester Economic Action Plan.