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Work set to start on £1.2m enterprise centre in Idle
9:00am Tuesday 29th October 2013 in News
A scheme to create a £1.2 million enterprise centre in the heart of Idle is under way, with businesses now asked to compete for contracts in the restoration and expansion of a disused church.
Thorp Methodist Church will be transformed into The Wright Watson Enterprise Centre and is due to open next summer. It will safeguard a new home for the village library and archive and offer business support, workspace and resources for fledgling entrepreneurs.
The centre will also have free WiFi and be a flexible space with hot-desking facilities and a cafe.
Funding has now been secured from a variety of grants and £800,000 of the total will be spent on replacing the roof and expanding the 1980s church, said Nasim Qureshi, of Inspired Neighbourhoods – the community interest company which has developed the scheme.
“We need to take the roof off and completely restructure the building, plus clean up the graveyard and turn it into a community garden with the gravestones set around the walls for everyone to see,” said Mr Qureshi.
The site was home to Idle Wesleyan Chapel from 1810, which was replaced by the existing building in 1982. It is also the burial place of Wright Watson, a prominent local author and historian, after whom the development is named.
Idle and Thackley ward councillor Jeanette Sunderland, chairman of Inspired Neighbourhoods, said it was an exciting step for Idle.
“It’s been a long time and I’m really pleased we are here now,” said Coun Sunderland (Lib Dem). “We’re really inviting local businesses to come forward for this. The centre will have a great impact on the village and also secure the library’s future.”