Maker space operator sought for next step in Prescot’s renaissance

An opportunity has arisen for an individual or organisation to manage a new creative, digital and maker space in the heart of Prescot town centre.

Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 3:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 3:46 pm
Cockpit House, Church Street in Prescot

As part of the Prescot High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) which is jointly funded by Knowsley Council and Historic England, submissions are now being invited for a maker space operator to design and deliver a vibrant managed workspace at the soon-to-be restored Grade II listed Cockpit House – also known as 34 Church Street.

The exterior of the building will be sensitively and sustainably restored by the council, with the work being led by conservation-accredited architects Purcell.

The successful operator will then work with conservation architects and the council to design the interior of the building, creating an attractive and inviting space made up of workspaces and workshops that can be let to a number of small and new businesses in the creative, maker, craft, and digital industries. A financial contribution to internal alterations will be provided via the HSHAZ funding.

The restoration of the iconic Cockpit House forms part of the wider renaissance of Prescot town centre and is one of several projects funded through the High Street Heritage Action Zone, including the restoration of one of the oldest cine-variety houses in England – Prescot Picture House.

The planned opening of The Shakespeare North Playhouse next year has been a catalyst for significant investment in the town, by the council, private investors and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, with a number of key projects already completed, including upgrades to Prescot Railway Station, public realm improvement works to transform Eccleston Street and the installation of new works of public art at the town’s gateways.

Councillor Tony Brennan, Knowsley’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development said: “This truly is a unique and exciting opportunity to help shape Prescot’s creative future.

"Cockpit House is next door to what will be a world-class theatre and venue and is therefore bound to attract a high calibre of creative industries looking to be part of this bold new beginning for the town.”

The council are looking to offer the successful operator a 25-year lease of the site on the basis that the building helps to drive footfall into town centre, with accessibility for the general public to shop and attend events, workshops and classes.

Maker spaces are increasingly popular, particularly in town centre locations, libraries and community centres, as they offer a location where people gather to create ideas and items, sharing resources and knowledge, work collaboratively on projects, building networks and building products and services.

Coun Brennan added: “Our commitment to making Cockpit House a destination for visitors to Prescot is reflected in the funding we have in place to repair, restore and convert the building through the Prescot High Street Heritage Action Zone.

“We are looking for an operator with the right track record who shares our vision for Prescot town centre and can put the space to best use for businesses and visitors alike, by creating a thriving community of small, creative businesses in this historic building.”

Tamsin Cooke from Historic England said: “Heritage buildings like Cockpit House have a great track record as focal points for investment and growth, so we’re excited to see who puts themselves forward for this amazing opportunity and what ideas they have to reinvent this special building

Further information and submissions should be made via The Chest. The closing date for submissions is Monday, November 15, 2021 at noon.