New ‘maker space’ approved for derelict former DWP building in Sutton

A prominent building on a ‘gateway’ into Sutton will be given new life as part of council plans to create a ‘maker space’, offices and an education hub.

It comes as part of Ashfield’s successful £62 million Towns Fund bid, obtained from the Government last year, with Ashfield Council planning to utilise an old Department for Work and Pensions building on High Pavement.

The maker space would be a facility for people who lack the funds or space to use tools at home, focusing on areas including woodworking, metalworking, sewing, 3D printers and laser cutters.

The council says this facility can be used for hobbies, learning a new skill, starting or building a business, or to provide a ‘sense of community’.

The former DWP building is set to be transformed into a ‘maker space’, offices and an education hub.

The land was previously granted permission for a change of use to include offices, light manufacturing, storage and distribution, leisure facilities, a showroom and coffee shop.

Currently, the building has offices and storage areas with large sewing spaces at ground level, while the entirety of the first floor is for office use.

However, now the council has approved its own plans for major changes to the building, which will see it separated into offices, educational provision and the maker space zone.

The council will also make the building accessible 24 hours a day and install new larch timber cladding on parts of the building, covering up existing pebble dash on the outside.

The authority adds the educational aspect of the building will provide training and facilities for post-16 students and adults “to help and improve their skills”.

Members of the council’s planning committee gave the building alterations the green light at their latest meeting.

Coun Tom Hollis, deputy council leader, said: “What’s there at the minute is a real eyesore and part of what the Towns Fund allows us to do is to take ownership of some of these things.

“With the best will in the world, we can’t control private property. Now, this gives the council the chance to do something about it and I think it’s going to uplift the entrance of Sutton.

“It’s only right we make good use of it and it’s an exciting prospect.”

Other projects involved in the Towns Fund include an advanced manufacturing and distribution skills hub, tourism projects and new green initiatives across Kirkby and Sutton.

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