The B-Wise and Regal buildings in Oswestry have been proposed as two potential locations for the new ‘business incubation space’, as well as the top floor of the Guildhall.
Consulting firms are now invited to bid on a £ 25,000 contract to examine the sites in more detail, recommend which one should be chosen and produce a business plan.
They will also be asked to assess whether any of the suggested buildings could house a relocated internal market.
It comes after the town received £ 653,000 last year under the High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) program administered by Historic England.
A key element of Oswestry’s successful financing offering was an ambitious ‘flagship project’ to support and nurture existing and new local businesses in a dedicated space.
It is envisioned that the hub will provide a range of uses and business support, as well as better connections between local businesses, and could potentially offer flexible office and meeting spaces.
The Shropshire Council tender document says successful consultants will need to conduct a sector analysis to ‘understand what is out there and the need for such space’, and engage with potential user groups. .
He says, “We have identified three potential properties that might be suitable if they were renovated. These are the B-Wise, the Regal and the top floor of the Guildhall.
“However, we are open to suggestions outside of the identified project area.
“An evaluation of the options of these properties to understand their suitability as a business incubation space would be essential.
“This would include taking into account the mix of other activities / businesses that could amplify the attractiveness of a business incubation space.
“Oswestry City Council is considering the possibility of relocating its current indoor market to support the regeneration of Main Street and increase the attractiveness of the market.
“Although this is dealt with in a separate brief, you should consider the basic question of ‘can any of the proposed buildings house a covered market? “”
The document indicates that some evidence could be gathered from the work currently being undertaken to produce an Oswestry master plan, but it indicates that the consultants should also engage with groups such as BID members, business support organizations. businesses and potential users of the new space.
He adds: “The aspiration of this project to stimulate young businesses should be taken into account.
“Therefore, engagement with start-ups, startups clubs and students would be valuable and, as such, consultants are required to describe their approach to consulting with key stakeholders. “
The Preferred Building Business Plan will allow the Shropshire Council, Oswestry Town Council, Historic England and the BID to “establish the financial viability of the project” and “demonstrate the economic impact on Oswestry,” says the document.
Offers from consultants “specialized in heritage regeneration and town planning” are accepted until April 12. The work will be carried out by the firm selected between May and August.