Islington Mill contractor search begins

Salford City Council has launched a tender for a contractor to renovate the creative workspace and arts venue it bought last year.

Salford signed off its acquisition of the James Street creative hub in September, after a successful bid for £3.3m of European Regional Development Fund support to help finance the deal.

The authority has since outlined its intention to refurbish and extend the mill by 25,000 sq ft to create a council-owned workspace for creative small businesses, in a project expected to cost £7m. 

The mill as it stands already supports 50 businesses and 100 artists. Early in 2020 it reached a fundraising target of £2.5m, with support from the Arts Council and Heritage Lottery Fund proving crucial.

City mayor Paul Dennett has described the scheme as an opportunity to “explore solutions for sustainable creative communities and local residents, at a time when affordable rents are a huge issue facing many millions of people in our country”.

He said: “This is about protecting and cultivating the production of culture – not just the consumption of culture. Ownership is key and, moving forward, the project we are embarking on with the mill will be crucial in creating models for communities to resist gentrification.”

The tender is now live, listed as “Salford City Council, on behalf of Islington Mill Arts Club CIC, is seeking tenders for capital works and renovating sections of two historic buildings in Salford”.

The deadline for submissions is listed as 9 March.

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