A new digital space is being created at White Cross Business Park in Lancaster.
The renovation plans for Fraser House which is an 11,500 sq ft building in central Lancaster have been created by the Lancashire County Council’s economic development company Lancashire County Developments Limited, which owns the site.
Co-working areas and small modular offices will be created on the ground floor and self-contained office space, suitable for fast-growing companies, provided on the upper floors. All floors will have high-specification digital connectivity, which is essential for the sector.
The increasing adoption of industrial digitalisation has led to a growing base of companies in the county who develop software to serve key industries. Lancashire’s digital, creative, software and computer science economy is worth £1.3 billion in GVA, employing 36,000 people in the county.
Digital lancashire’s Michael Gibson said: “We are delighted to see this substantial investment by Lancashire County Council in Lancaster’s growing digital sector. Digital Lancashire has lobbied for three years on behalf of its members and the community for better office space in the city, including its survey and report Nowhere to Grow that helped change the debate. It’s fantastic to see the County Council back this work with investment in dedicated office space that will give digital and tech companies the space and infrastructure to thrive.”
Digital Lancashire have worked tirelessly over the last three years to address the chronic lack of quality fit-for-purpose office space in the city. It undertook a survey of local digital and tech businesses that led to the report, Nowhere to Grow, which shone a light on the size and scale of the sector and the challenges they faced. It also illustrated the huge opportunity this created for those willing to invest. Other work has included creating tours of city businesses and Baltic Creative and Sensor City in Liverpool so decision-makers could see the scale of opportunity and how it was being realised elsewhere.
County Councillor Michael Green, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Environment and Planning, said: “There is already a growing digital sector in Lancaster and surrounding areas, so the renovation of Fraser House will provide a high-quality base for these companies”.
“Our aim is to appeal to fast-growing digital companies and start-ups, as well as providing co-working space and facilities where people can network and collaborate on projects. This is especially useful to freelancers and smaller companies.”
“Fraser House will enhance our offer at White Cross and encourage this growing sector to use Lancaster as a base for their work.”
Local partners including Lancaster University and Lancaster City Council, alongside local business owners and Digital Lancashire members, have helped to co-design the space to ensure it responds to the needs of the community.
It is hoped that renovation work could start in November, with the new hub opening in autumn 2020.
Businesses can express advanced interest in the space by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.