Ask’s Ashton project wins approval

Rachael Tinniswood

Ask Developments' plans to create two blocks of new business suites along with a 'knowledge mill' at the £42m St Petersfield scheme in Ashton-under-Lyne have been approved by Tameside Council.

The two blocks, K1 and K2, on Stamford Street West, which together will cover a space of 86,300 sq ft, will contain 113 units, each of which will measure 500 sq ft.

Ask Developments has agreed a JV deal with Dylan Harvey to sell the managed work-spaces, situated over four floors, off-plan to investors.

Tameside College has already taken 9,280 sq ft on the ground floor, which includes the Knowledge Mill, a 7,000 sq ft enterprise and training, and a 2,280 sq ft coffee shop.

The Knowledge Mill will provide a business creation unit in which individuals and companies can develop business ideas, similar to the enterprise programmes already offered at Ask Development's scheme at One Central Park near Manchester.
Facilities will include open plan meeting rooms, lecture rooms, a reception and office space.

Plans were also approved for a car park consisting of 610 spaces as well as a further 90 residential apartments, which will be set on the site of the soon-to-be relocated Ashton Fire Station on Hodgson Street, being developed by Ask's residential arm Ask Life.

Ask Developments' development director John Hughes said: "Incorporating the commercial units and the business incubation scheme for Tameside College brings an added dimension to the building as growing, start-up companies look to take flexible space on the upper floors.

"The medium to long term benefits will ensure that new and existing companies are retained within Tameside and those businesses that have outgrown these units are accommodated in the rest of St Petersfield."

Toby Whittaker from Dylan Harvey, the managing agents for the development, said: "The commercial element of the building creates a unique product that meets the needs of the investor and that of its tenants.

"We are aware that many small commercial occupiers are often unable or unwilling to take traditional lease terms but this concept, new to Tameside, will fulfil this niche."

Work on the K1 K2 commercial scheme is expected to be completed in Spring 2009.

Once complete, St Petersfield, which is being delivered through a public/private partnership between Tameside Council, Ask Developments, Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and English Partnerships, will provide 280,000 sq ft of office space, 140 residential units and retail and leisure facilities totalling 400,000 sq ft.

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