PROPOSALS to extend Tameside’s pioneering digital hub have been approved with businesses queuing up to move in.
Tameside Council’s Cabinet gave the green light to the final phase of Ashton Old Baths’ redevelopment, which will create 677 square metres of office floor space and a new Data Centre.
The ‘Annex’ will accommodate up to 73 new jobs, targeted at the media, digital and creative sectors, with ten start-up businesses currently waiting for space to become available.
Ashton Old Baths has been a huge success story since it was transformed from a derelict Victorian swimming pool into a vibrant business centre, designed to foster a digital community of innovators in Tameside.
It has been fully occupied since October 2017, with a range of creative companies employing more than 83 people, and is significantly exceeding income and performance targets. It’s established a significant presence within the digital and creative sectors in Greater Manchester and beyond.
Firms in the building range from digital marketers to an engineering design company and a Proptech start up.
Councillor Bill Fairfoull, Deputy Executive Leader of Tameside Council, said: “This is the final piece in a vitally important jigsaw that will complete the transformation of one of Tameside’s historically significant buildings and at the same time create the environment for new and existing businesses in the digital, media and creative sectors to flourish.
“In addition, the Data Centre, a key part of the borough’s 21st Century infrastructure, can be delivered, repatriating important Council data centre capability back within Tameside.
“Ashton Old Baths has been extremely successful in developing innovative digital companies to create jobs and growth in the borough and it will be exciting to see more businesses thrive.”
The capital programme budget is set to increase by £1.1m to £2.7m for the redevelopment, but it will increase revenue when businesses move in.
Ashton Old Baths, in Henry Square on Stamford Street West, was built in 1870 and functioned as a pool until 1975. It lay derelict until 2013 when Tameside Council and Place First secured funding from the European Regional Development Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund to restore and renovate the building.
The restoration was shortlisted for the prestigious Historic England Angel Awards in the category of ‘Best Rescue of a Heritage Site’, the Architects’ Journal Retrofit Awards and the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce Building of the Year. It’s also named as a key asset for the city region in the Greater Manchester Digital Strategy.
The centre is run by specialist business incubation experts Oxford Innovation in partnership with the property’s owners Tameside Council. It’s connected to Tameside Digital Infrastructure Co-operative’s dark fibre network, providing the fastest broadband speeds available in the UK.