Scilly’s Innovation Centre Plans To Be Decided Soon

What the new centre will look like

What the new centre will look like

The future of a plan to redevelop the old wholesalers site as an innovation centre will be clearer after March 14th.

That’s when European Convergence funders will be appraising the £1.5m plan to redevelop the unit into 5,000 square feet of business space.

Five years ago, a Council business survey revealed that around one-third of the 120 participating businesses were home-based and one third of those thought that their current workspace was inadequate for their work.

Diana Mompoloki, who is driving the project for the Council, says there is still demand and one workspace has been pre-let.

Diana says the innovation centres that her team has looked at on the mainland are generally 50% full after 2 years. In Scilly, they would expect them to fill faster but probably not all the units would be taken within the first 6 months.

But at the recent Policy and Resources committee meeting, vice chairman of Council Amanda Martin voiced concern over the project slipping. She wanted to ensure it “doesn’t drag on.”

There have been additional delays because regional funding teams have changed through reorganisation. Diana says it means she is dealing with people who, “don’t even know the Islands existed” and she’s had to explain things all over again.

If it goes ahead, the £1.5m project won’t cost the Council any money. Their match-funding is the cost of the site and the existing steel structure. Diana says the Town Hall will gain an asset and not a liability.

There has been talk of a new access road for the dump passing this site. Diana says her understanding is that this is very unlikely to happen but if it does, her team will deal with it.

If funding is approved on the 14th, work will start in May and the centre will be complete by Christmas.