Funding boost will help with completion of Kettering's flagship cultural projectCulture and tourism
07 July 2022
Progress on Kettering’s flagship cultural quarter regeneration project will be discussed at a meeting of North Northamptonshire Council’s Executive next week.
Cornerstone aims to revitalise and unify the town centre site which includes Alfred East Art Gallery, Kettering Library and Kettering Museum.
Once complete there will be significant improvements to the Alfred East Art Gallery and Kettering Library and a new two-storey extension to the rear of the Art Gallery.
Executive 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 last Executive report in March, as this important project has progressed, further details and challenges have had to be addressed, including supply of building materials and the co-ordination of their delivery, which is a challenge not just being faced in this project and is impacting construction projects nationally.
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.
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.Cllr Helen Howell, the council’s Deputy Leader and Executive member for Sport, Leisure, Culture and Tourism
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.
It’s important that the building works are finished as soon as possible to avoid further costly delays.Cllr Jason Smithers, Leader of the Council
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.
A total of £3million funding for the project has come from the Getting Building Fund, which is administered by South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP), with the remainder from local authority funding.
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, providing the correct environment for creative and cultural businesses to start up and grow.
- Increased engagement with schools and educational institutions to deliver collaborative programmes, to build curiosity, develop creative and cultural talent, creating future user and visitor opportunities.
- 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.
The Executive report also provides a further update on the works programme:
- External curtain glazing and roof lights installed
- Internal studwork within the new extension complete
- Gallery ceiling painting complete
- Lift installed
- Museum betterment works complete
- Ramp construction and brick work underway
- Hit and miss brickwork (design-type of bricks) over the new entrance underway
- Drainage connection complete
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.