Plans For Business Complex Move A Step Closer

Former Wholesalers building in Porthmellon

Plans for the Council to develop the former wholesalers store as a multipurpose business unit are set to go to architects’ tender over the next few days.

The plan is to create a flexible workspace that will allow up to 15 businesses to operate.

The Council’s Head of Economic Development, Diana Mompoloki, told us the building is a direct response to their research, which showed that 38% of businesses on the islands said lack of suitable workspace was their biggest challenge.

Diana says the new facility will provide ‘easy in, easy out’ working space for small business owners who want to move out from home or who miss working with other people. Businesses could sign up for space for a short period to ‘test the water’ rather than taking out a costly long lease, with rent by the hour, day or week.

She added the facilities could also act as ‘touch down space’ so, for example, off islanders or visitors could work for a few hours and rent will include all services such as electricity and broadband.

And the complex will offer facilities people couldn’t get at home, such as a commercial-grade kitchen.

Converting the former wholesalers site will be a challenge, says Diana, and will involve stripping away the existing concrete and asbestos to the underlying steel structure. The aim will be to create a light, modern and airy single storey building.

She says the £750,000 cost will be met through the European Regional Development Fund with the Council contributing the land and steel structure as match-funding.

The project still needs to go through planning but, as there’s no change of use, Diana thinks there shouldn’t be too many problems. It’s hoped that, if planning is granted, building work could start in January next year.