Plans submitted for £4m digital innovation centre
Plans have been submitted to transform a historic building into a £4m centre for digital innovation and business incubation.
The Grade II-listed Mansion House in Corsham town centre, Wiltshire, could be redeveloped as part of the proposal – which would build an adjoining two-storey extension on the site of a disused library.
It is expected that the project will provide about 13,800 sq ft of office space.
The Digital Corsham project has been developed by Wiltshire Council and Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership working in partnership with Corsham Institute and Bath Spa University.
A report to go before Wiltshire Council's planning committee on Wednesday May 24, and final sign off will rest with the communities secretary.
Approval is expected, according to planning officers.
Although there have been a number of objections to the development – notably from the Georgian Group and Ancient Monument Society – a report said the scheme is considered to be a "suitable reuse" of the Mansion House site.
The project will bring together private businesses, academic research and industry-focussed training under one roof, with a focus on digital technologies and capability.
It aims to demolish the now disused library building and extend the capacity of the Mansion House building to accommodate up to 14 business units of varying sizes for lease to micro and small businesses with a focus on digital solutions in industry and society.
Jane Scott, leader of Wiltshire Council, said: "These are extremely exciting plans, which will put Corsham at the heart of the region's digital skills, training, research and industry agenda, as well as providing the incubation space to offer small start-up businesses the opportunity to get on their feet in such inspirational surroundings."
Key to the development will be the provision of space where industry, academia, institutions, the public sector and the general public can come together to share ideas and engage with the digital society test bed.
It will also offer teaching space to provide higher and further education courses relating to the digital industry.
The £4m project will be one among a number of major schemes benefiting from the Government's £141m Growth Deal funding package for the region between 2015 and 2021.
Barry Dennington, chairman of the SWLEP board, said: "Our vision at the SWLEP is all about driving economic growth in the area through innovation, and this a key project for us in achieving our ambitions.
“It will put the Swindon and Wiltshire LEP area on the map as a hub of digital innovation and expertise."