A new state-of-the-art flexible workspace development for Southwold is edging a step closer.

The redevelopment of Station Yard on the corner of Station Road and Blyth Road, will see the space transformed into a multi-purpose building, providing new employment space, and the offer of professional support and training for businesses in the town.

Initial site works begin this week, with the main construction taking place from September. 

It will be open to individuals and start-up businesses, and to those expanding further, who wish to be part of a business community, to share space, network and collaborate. 

There will be opportunities for co-working and tenancies that are both permanent and virtual.

Mixbrow Construction has been awarded the building contract, while the day-to-day operation of the facility will be run by MENTA, which supports small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) across Norfolk and Suffolk with business help, support, advice and training.

Alex Till, CEO of MENTA, said it had provided support for similar enterprises in both Felixstowe and Bury St Edmunds.

“It’s a great opportunity to achieve a better work/life balance, allow people to work closer to home, invite new people into the town and increase the general footfall in Southwold to support the existing businesses.

“Co-working and collaboration are key in this post-Covid world, and our job is to provide business support and advice to all our tenants, as well as organising and facilitating networking events, knowledge sharing and training to ensure a stronger and more productive business community.”

The project is part of a wider plan for Southwold, encouraging future growth and a continuing legacy to attract new visitors and residents all year round and to move away from a reliance on tourism.

It has been spearheaded by Southwold Town Council and made possible by grants from The Coastal Communities Fund, SGIF and supported by partners East Suffolk Council.

Will Windell, Mayor of Southwold, welcomed the news.

“I’m absolutely delighted we have got the green light and that work can begin. We are seeing some fantastic new facilities opening in Southwold this year and the news that we can push on with a development such as this to help futureproof our town is very exciting.

“We do of course want to preserve everything that people know and love about Southwold and part of that is to encourage and provide provision for people to be able to work, live and stay in Southwold all year-round.”

The plans are in line with East Suffolk’s Growth Plan for 2018-2023, which states the need for a more diverse economy with space for community initiatives and increased micro and SME business provision.

Craig Rivett, East Suffolk Council’s Deputy Leader and cabinet member for Economic Development said: “Since the beginning of this project, we have been working in partnership with Southwold Town Council and will continue to support them, and the local community, in delivering their ambitions for the town.”