Sutton Council have begun plans to appoint a partner to design, develop and operate the Sutton Works project.
Sutton Works is a key element of the Council’s strategy to make the borough’s town centre a more attractive place to live, work and visit.
The business incubator will be created on the upper floors of the former BHS department store (above the current H&M) in Sutton Town Centre. It will provide a hub offering space for start-ups, business support and flexible and incubation space, including for local digital, tech, and innovation businesses, alongside community events, educational spaces and a roof garden.
The Council secured £2.2m of external funding to support the delivery of the project and has identified a preferred partner to design, develop and operate the project, following a rigorous selection process.
It complements and supports the five projects that will be delivered through the recent award to the Council of £11.35m, from the government’s Future High Street Fund.
The COVID-19 pandemic has stimulated a cultural shift in people’s daily habits, resulting in greater flexibility in working patterns and location preferences. With a move back towards a new normal, the business incubator will offer Sutton residents and businesses workspace variation and much greater opportunities for collaboration.
Delivering social value is also a key component of the project. One initiative will be to develop an intergenerational growing project on its roof, where Age UK Sutton will partner with Sutton Community Farm and local schools. It will also provide space for other key partners to engage with local residents and to promote educational and career opportunities. These activities will support the Council’s ambition to make Sutton age-friendly and to deliver new opportunities for local people and businesses.
Councillor Jayne McCoy, Deputy Leader of the Council, said:
“Sutton Works sets a strong, deliverable vision for the future of Sutton Town Centre.
“We want to provide an innovative facility that offers jobs and opportunities for our residents and we are delighted to get this operator appointment process underway.