Detailed plans to develop and expand Worthing’s successful creative hub into a launchpad for digital firms of the future are set to be unveiled.
Since opening in 2016, the Worthing Borough Council-owned Colonnade House has provided space for dozens of local artists and designers to create and showcase their talents to the wider world
Now the local authority wants to build on these foundations, enhancing and expanding the creative hub on the corner of Warwick Street and High Street into neighbouring derelict buildings.
The aim is to support the town’s growing creative industries, with the prominent building set to be equipped with gigabit broadband to support those working in areas such as animation, augmented reality, games development and visual arts.
Ahead of a planning application being submitted in the spring, the Council is undertaking consultation to listen to views and comments on the initial proposals.
An online survey running until January 31st can be found at www.adur-worthing.gov.uk/colonnade-house-consultation
Councillor Heather Mercer, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Customer Services, said: “Colonnade House has been an undoubted success since opening in 2016, with the gallery area and workspace above proving extremely popular and over-subscribed.
“We now want to build on this, ensuring we retain what is special about the creative hub while opening the offer to the digital industries and bringing some derelict empty space back into use. I look forward to hearing people’s views on the proposals ahead of a planning application being submitted later this year.”
Thinking ahead to the benefits that a creative digital hub could bring to the town, Colonnade House is running a project called Space to Make to test the concept of a makerspace for Worthing.
This will see professionals and community groups – who perhaps would not be able to afford access to the equipment themselves – visit Colonnade to test out new ideas and technology, including 3D printing and laser cutting.
As well as tenants in Colonnade House’s studio spaces, such as animation company Persistent Peril and interactive digital artist Adam Seaman, the team has partnered with Community Works to share this opportunity with local community groups, including Transition Town Worthing, Freedom Power Chairs and Tide of Light.
Space to Make will run from January 18th to 30th and will include weekend workshops for families as well as weekday ‘work-in-progress’ sessions where visitors can drop in and find out what people are making and doing with digital technology in Worthing.
Space to Make is a Crafts Council Make:Shift:Do project—exploring new models for co-creation in makerspaces and is one of three projects in England selected this
year as case studies to share learning with the wider craft and makerspace sector.
The project is supported by West Sussex County Council, Adur & Worthing Councils and Adur & Worthing Trust.
Bob Lanzer, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for the Economy, said: “We are very pleased to have the opportunity to support this programme of technology events in Worthing. The aims of the ‘Space to Make’ programme closely align with our ambitions to grow the creative and digital sector along the coast, and we are sure that businesses will benefit from the range of activities and networking opportunities.”
Emma Baars, Relationship and Development Manager at Community Works, said: “As
the charity whose job it is to support other charities, we love it when a project like this emerges which has the potential to impact on so many groups and communities locally.
“The makerspace at Colonnade House will be a tremendous asset and will allow the voluntary sector locally to develop new projects – from 3D printing specialist parts for a mobility charity, to programming a moving light sculpture, to making laser cut race medals.
“There are so many potential uses. We’re excited that this pilot project will inspire more creative approaches and we’re pleased to be working with Colonnade House to make sure community groups are part of it.”