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Generator project acquires building

Published: Mon 21st December, 2020

  • The Old Art College building on Frederick Street, Loughborough
    The Old Art College building on Frederick Street, Loughborough

We are publishing this press release on our website on behalf of The Generator Loughborough:

A long-anticipated Loughborough regeneration project has taken a huge step forward with the successful acquisition of the Old Art College building from Loughborough University.

The Generator Loughborough project to restore and reuse the building on Frederick Street is the result of a partnership between the private and voluntary sectors.

The community interest company has teamed up with local developer Our Neighbourhood to buy the old Art College building from the University.

Our Neighbourhood will build on their success with refurbishments at Canal House and Jason Works in the town to create exciting workspaces for local creative businesses in the four storey block together with a coffee shop on the ground floor.

The CIC will secure public funds to restore the full height Generator Hall on Packe Street to create a multi-media arts venue for live performances, exhibitions and events as well as a permanent home for the much-respected community arts organisation, Charnwood Arts.

Work on the four-storey block has already started with the first tenants expected to be in occupation in January. The CIC has already received generous support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Architectural Heritage Fund, the LLEP, SIB, Loughborough University and Charnwood Borough Council. It will prepare detailed plans over the next few months and apply for further funding which it hopes will allow the works to start in Autumn 2021.

David Pagett-Wright, Chair of the Generator CIC, said: “The partnership with Our Neighbourhood has put new life into the project and enabled the acquisition of the building. Inclusion in the Town Investment Plan is a major boost, and if that funding is confirmed we will be able to crack on with the work next year. We are looking forward to a close working relationship with Our Neighbourhood and with Charnwood Arts in which the two parts of the building work together as a creative whole”.

Dr Jill Vincent, who is on the CIC Board and Charnwood Arts, said: “As well as creating a unique new arts venue for the people of Loughborough we will also tell the story of this much-loved building and how it contributed to the training of generations of Loughborough people to work in the town’s key industries and how, under the inspirational leadership of Herbert Schofield, it played a key role in the origins and development of Loughborough University”.

The Board of the CIC expressed its gratitude for the contribution made in getting to this point by Kevin Ryan, former CEO of Charnwood Arts, who sadly passed away earlier this year. Kevin’s enthusiasm for the project remains a driving force, as we seek to turn thoughts, ideas and hope, finally in to reality on the ground.”

Property developer Raffaele Russo, of Our Neighbourhood, said: "We have loved the building since our university days.  We always like to work with the original features of a building and this is a very special place we are really looking forward to bringing back to life."

The acquisition of the building comes as the project is also included in the Loughborough Town Deal Town Investment Plan.