Work is getting underway on the half-a-million pound investment to extend a Haverhill business centre that helps local enterprise grow in West Suffolk.
The MENTA Business Centre, at 27 Hollands Road, is owned by West Suffolk Council and leased to, and managed by, MENTA, the not-for-profit organisation that works with established companies, start-up businesses and those considering self-employment. The extension will create four new units, a new reception area, bigger meeting spaces, level access and installation of two toilets.
West Suffolk Council negotiated a Section 106 agreement and ring fenced this funding to provide employment opportunities in West Suffolk, including £502,000 for this project.
New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership has funded MENTA almost £50,000 to support the project.
Both West Suffolk Council and MENTA have been working with tenants throughout lockdown and are working to minimise the impact of the project on tenants and neighbouring businesses. The project contractors Gipping Construction, started work on August 3.
The project complements recent investment in Haverhill Research Park and Enterprise Zone, with both sites helping to attract commercial investment and support the creation of local jobs.
John Griffiths, leader of West Suffolk Council, said: “This project works to Haverhill’s strengths and shows how we collaborate with key partners to target strategic investment that will create the conditions for growth and recovery. We are proud of the enterprise culture in Haverhill, and in West Suffolk, and delighted to be working with award winning not-for-profit MENTA in sustaining and encouraging small businesses, especially in these challenging times.”
Susan Glossop, Cabinet member for Growth, said: “The site provides first premises and professional meeting facilities for businesses and acts as a feeder for other more established business premises in the area. The proposed extension will add approximately 142m2, enhance the building’s appearance and create more workspace. The build programme will take about 26 weeks and we will be working very closely with MENTA, their tenants and neighbours to minimise the impact of the work on their businesses. I look forward to seeing these businesses grow and bring jobs to complement Haverhill’s new homes.”
Alex Till, CEO at MENTA, said, “The improvements mean we are able to offer more to growing businesses and emerging entrepreneurs across Haverhill and the surrounding area. I’m delighted at the progress that has been made and excited at the upgraded offer and services we shall soon be able to deliver. With more space for tenants and their businesses, as well as a modern catering offer alongside MENTA’s, plans to introduce Haverhill focused networking, 2021 offers an opportunity for business to bounce back in Haverhill the COVID situation.”
And Chris Starkie, chief executive of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, added: “We’re delighted to support this scheme in Haverhill which will deliver benefits to Menta and local businesses and unlock Section 106 funding for the economic development of the area. This will enhance the provision of business workspaces and training and, in response to Covid-19, London-based businesses may be seeking alternative accommodation which is within easy reach of the capital.”