Business leaders cheer fresh lease of life for old building by creating new offices

Published on: Saturday, 19th September 2015

A new business centre at a prestigious building in Ilkeston town centre was officially opened on Friday 18th September 2015.

Erewash Business Centre, set in The Old Police Station, Wharncliffe Road, was opened by local MP Maggie Throup.

The building lay empty and vandalised after police moved out until the former Ilkeston Co-op refurbished it. Enterprise agency Erewash Partnership took over the management in 2004 and used it as headquarters until last year when the building was closed and the Partnership moved to Bridge House on Derby Road, Long Eaton.

The building was bought from the Co-op by the Lester Point Pension Trust, which is solely-owned by Simon Woods, chairman of Erewash Partnership and managing director of education equipment manufacturer TecQuipment of Long Eaton.

The Trust paid for refurbishment of the1906 red brick building. This included new windows on three sides, replacement boiler and heating system, energy-efficient LED lighting, new carpets and redecoration.

As well as 16 high quality offices - ranging from 15 - 35 sq metres - there is a conference room and large car park. Offices will be let on flexible terms through the Partnership which will use one for start-up advice and mentoring.

Maggie told guests that earlier in the week she had spoken to Business Secretary Savid Jahid about the scheme and he sent his congratulations.

When she heard the premises were going to close she was concerned there would be another derelict building in Ilkeston. Then along came a knight in shining armour in the form of Simon Woods.

"It's fantastic that somebody like Simon has put his trust and confidence in the people of Erewash and the businesses of Erewash,' she said. "We need more like Simon.'

He replied that he was passionate about the area, local businesses and the Partnership. "I'm proud that I am able to put something back into the local community,' he said.

Ian Viles, chief executive of the Partnership, which in the last financial year helped 97 businesses set up, said the centre would add to the variety of facilities for firms in the town and would complement its own business centre, Castledine House on Heanor Road.

"It is the first time we have worked with the private sector on such a scheme and such a prestigious building,' he added.

Other business leaders praised the initiative. Chris Hobson, East Midlands Chamber policy director, said it was great to see an important building have a new lease of life.

"We know that business growth and the economy in Erewash is strong and as a result there's demand for this type of premises. I look forward to seeing businesses come and use this space and add to the vibrancy of the Ilkeston business community and town centre.

Dawn Whiteley, chief executive of the National Enterprise Network, a membership body for organisations supporting enterprise, said the Partnership had done great work over 21 years.

"This centre is a beautiful facility and will be a beacon for enterprise in the town,' she said.

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