A developer has breathed new life into part of Aylesbury’s historic County Hall to create office space for fledgling businesses.
Meanwhile Space has teamed up with Bucks County Council to tranform Porter’s Lodge into a hub for small start up businesses with ‘meanwhile use’, which means it will have ‘social and economically active use’ while it awaits eventual redevelopment.
The building has stood empty for the past two years, but now it’s had a fresh lick of paint and there will be five spaces available from Feburary for businesses to move into and boost enterprise in Aylesbury town centre.
There are already two local businesses already on board – pet accessories McGrumpy and Snuffles and digital marketing firm Framework Digital.
Those eligible are either seed projects, which qualify for subsidised rent of £100pcm plus bills; start ups or creative industries which will pay £200pcm plus bills and established businesses would pay £400pcm plus bills.
The offices, which range from 25 to 65 sq m, will offer businesses that would otherwise be crippled by high rent costs a real chance to make it.
Diana Grisales, of Meanwhile Space, said: “Starting a business is quite scary but also quite lonely.
“Our aim is to create a community network of support and inspiration that will increase their individual confidence until they can stand on their own feet, but also get them to contribute to the local community.”
The plan is that those renting rooms at Porter’s Lodge will exchange skills and support each other with regular mentoring and workshops to test andgrow their businesses.
The project aims to act as an incubator where businesses will be nurtured and supported to grow so they can eventually move on to anotherpermanent commercial space, allowing other new businesses to move in.
Local accountants Clark Howes and ABC UK business advice will be just some of the firms offering advice, mentoring and networking opportunities for the project participants.
Anna Weston of Clark Howes said: “Meanwhile Space at Porters Lodge is making it easier for people in Aylesburyto realise their ambitions, and Clark Howes is delighted to be supporting such a beneficial community project.”
Ms Grisales said: “Our recent open day was a success as Aylesbury residents were thrilled to be able to walk into the County Hall for the first time.
“The past of County Hall and the jail fascinates the locals who are eager to learn more about the history of the building.
“There is a lot of enthusiasm among local artists and performers includingBucks Open Studios and Red Kite Dance, about the future of the County Hall.
“It has potential to be a catalyst in Aylesbury’s Town Centre transformation into a cultural destination.”
To book a viewing and explore your idea and space requirements, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To apply, download the application form at www.meanwhilespace.com. The deadline is on Monday, January 19 with interviews on Friday, January 30.