Andover is set to benefit from the creation of a first-of-its-kind office space thanks to IncuHive.
Test Valley Borough Council received grant backing for a modern, co-working desk rental facility, in the the heart of the town centre area that’s about to be renovated.
‘IncuHive Space’ will create a new environment on the 4th and 5th floors of Chantry House in Andover, after Test Valley Borough Council agreed to work with IncuHive Group who have secured more than £200,000 in grant funding from the Local Enterprise Partnership to realise the project.
This new facility is aimed at small businesses, start‐ups and individuals who are currently working from home. IncuHive currently have premises in Basingstoke, Winchester, Southampton and more.
CEO Stephen Northam shared a YouTube video recently as he walked around his new premises.
Test Valley Borough Council say it reflects a need for flexible space in town centres, both in the short-term as they begin to emerge from lockdown and in the longer-term as new working practices are adopted and the nation’s high streets continue to evolve and adapt.
It is expected to reduce the need for office workers to undertake long commutes by providing equally well-equipped and better located accommodation, avoiding the need to travel to major cities.
The proposal from IncuHive will see the refurbishment of more than 4,700 sq ft of commercial floorspace to create six individual office spaces and 30 rentable desks, together with a recreation area and reception facilities. They will offer photo and video studio facilities alongside creative space for artists and “fab lab” innovation space.
It is also hoped that the new facility will assist with the town’s economic recovery and drive up footfall in the High Street.
The move will mark the start of the journey towards a new era for Andover, which will see a greater mixture of work, living and leisure uses in the town centre.
Internal works on Chantry House are set to begin in the coming weeks.
The proposal has been designed to comply with social distancing rules, and the council and IncuHive will put in place various precautions to safeguard users. In providing a local facility as an alternative to commuting to London, it will reduce the strain on public transport and assist with carbon reduction.
Dave Axam, chair of the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership, said, “I am delighted that we will be able to support this pilot project as part of our Economic Recovery and Renewal Action Plan, which will open up an innovative new work space to enable people to work closer to home.
“During COVID-19 many of us have discovered new ways of working, with many of us home working, but we know this is not always easy or possible for all of us.
“This kind of collaborative new work space is an excellent initiative, it strives to repurpose some of our redundant town centre space so that people, and small businesses, can work in a local COVID safe sustainable environment which as well as meeting this local need, supports other town centre businesses and reduces travel thus helps us achieve a more sustainable economy.”
Steven Northam, founder of the IncuHive Group Limited, added, “We are excited to have secured LEP funding to support the development of a new IncuHive Space in the heart of Andover, offering an innovative mix of flexible office space, co-working and business start-up facilities.
“This will be our 8th site in the south and we have no doubt it will be another great space to support the local business community in Andover.”
The Love Andover office space home of Andover Radio (below) was created within Chantry Centre premises in a similar state in 2018.