An impressive rural enterprise centre perfectly situated in North Craven, on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, has officially opened its doors – supporting 30 new jobs.
Civic dignitaries, officers and special guests gathered for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the £3.5millon Langcliffe Quarry Enterprise Centre near Settle, North Yorkshire, on 25 January.
During the opening ceremony invitees were given a tour of the site and workspaces.
The former Craven District Council waste depot has been given a new lease of life and the facility now boasts restored and refurbished stone buildings as well as the construction of eight business units, three new buildings and a brand-new public car park.
The refurbishment of the traditional stone barn (former garage and depot) – The Enterprise Hub – now provides a range of flexible and bespoke office space to accommodate a variety of business needs. Oozing in character, it offers three meeting/training rooms (ideal for holding meetings, seminars, client presentations and conferences), a co-working space with 14 hot-desks and five incubator/private offices.
The facility, which also lies next to the Settle-Carlisle railway, has been funded by Craven District Council, York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Proud of the development, Craven District Council’s lead member for enterprising Craven and Chairman of the Council, Cllr Simon Myers, said: “The enterprise centre is a great asset and we are thrilled that it’s open for business. This scheme will help provide much-needed workspace in the district. We know there is a strong demand for modern, flexible workspace for new and existing small businesses in Craven. This has proved to be even more important as we came out of the coronavirus lockdown and felt we needed more and more local employment. This facility in our rural district is an excellent example of creating new spaces that provide the tools that businesses need to thrive in today’s economic landscape.”
Similar views were shared by the Chief Executive of Craven District Council, Paul Shevlin, who said: “The Enterprise Centre is a fitting legacy the district council is leaving behind. The fantastic and much-needed development of a purpose-built enterprise centre – the first facility of its kind in the Yorkshire Dales National Park – will provide a sound basis for contributing to the local economy and will enable small businesses to grow. I would like to thank everyone involved for turning this ambitious project into a reality.”
A range of enterprises are now expected to make the centre, which is perfectly situated in an area of outstanding beauty and close to the historic Hoffmann Kiln, their new home. Tenants will have the benefit of full fibre connectivity, providing some of the fastest broadband speeds available thanks to Broadband for Rural North (B4RN).
Among the first tenants to sign up is Andrew Jones, who runs Yorkshire Dales Classics Limited. He describes Langcliffe as a great location for small or start-up companies and easily accessible for large parts of Craven. He explained further: “We moved house from Baildon to the area last February, so Langcliffe is an ideal location to move my business premises to. There is a real shortage of small to medium sized units available in the Settle area. The units benefit from being modern and well insulated with the added bonus of superfast broadband availability from B4RN. Plus, lease terms are sensible and there is the opportunity to use the Hub facilities if required.”
Commenting on the support for economic growth, David Dickson, Chair of Place & Infrastructure Board at York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The new facilities are great and will support economic growth across the area. We’re pleased to have supported the scheme with Local Growth Fund investment and we look forward to seeing the site flourish in the years to come. It’s a fantastic place to do business.”
Meanwhile, Dehenna Davison MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Levelling Up), said: “I am pleased to hear that the Langcliffe Quarry Enterprise Centre has officially opened and that £1.6m of Government funding from the Local Growth Fund, awarded to York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, was used to support this project. Small and medium-sized enterprises are vital to growing our economy, driving innovation and supporting the Government’s commitment to levelling up across the country, especially in our rural communities. I’m hopeful that the new facilities will help propel businesses to reach their full potential.”
Hailing the development a “great place to work”, Member Champion for Development Management at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Jim Munday, commented: “A significant economic development project in the Craven district was promised in the Yorkshire Dales National Park Management Plan 2019-24. The Langcliffe Enterprise Centre is it. The site is rich in wildlife and amazing old Craven Limeworks buildings such as the atmospheric Hoffmann Kiln. Craven District Council took on a difficult challenge in redeveloping the site but it has been rewarded. The Langcliffe Enterprise Centre will provide a really attractive place for businesses in the National Park and will benefit the long-term management of this nationally-important site.”
The facility has been built to extremely high environmental standards by Sutcliffe Construction, using innovative construction techniques and modern materials, including the installation of roof-mounted Solar PV panels, rainwater collection, low voltage lighting and low emissivity glass. The design means that the buildings will be highly energy efficient when in use.
James Sutcliffe, Managing Director of Sutcliffe Construction Ltd, said: “We’re delighted to have handed over phase one of the Langcliffe Quarry Enterprise Centre, our first major project for Craven District Council. Due to the site being of historical importance, the works required careful and considerate planning, with many consultants and agencies involved, including Historic England and Ecology and Arboricultural consultants, to ensure the protection of local wildlife and the environment.”
The project has funded the ongoing operation and management of the site. This includes the post of a Rural Business Development Officer who will be responsible for managing the enterprise hub and provision of wider business support both on-site and off-site, covering the more remote rural areas of the district.
Langcliffe Quarry Enterprise Centre offers modern, flexible workspace with ultrafast broadband connectivity set within the beautiful Yorkshire Dales countryside
The site is heavily constrained by virtue of its historical, archaeological and ecological attributes as well as its proximity to the Settle-Carlisle railway line.
Its historical function as a major limeworks makes the site one of national significance and a key example of the limeworking industry in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and has therefore been designated as a Scheduled Monument.
The Hoffman Kiln – one of the largest of its kind in the UK and one of the best surviving examples, its significance heightened by its completeness and state of preservation.
The project has been successful in securing grant assistance of £1,645,708 from the Local Growth Fund, given from York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, to fund the capital costs of developing the site. The project is in receipt of a European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) grant of up to £1.7m. to support the capital works.