Wyre Forest District Council is recruiting a design team to transform Kidderminster’s Grade II-listed former magistrates court into a new innovation hub
The estimated £250,000 commission covers RIBA stages 1-4 and is part of a bid by the local authority to receive grant money from the government’s £675 million Future High Streets Fund.
The project will restore the former courthouse – which was created inside the shell of a carpet factory in 1971 and then abandoned in 2002 – and create an enterprise centre for the town’s emerging creative, digital and technology sectors.
The disused complex at the centre of the contest site is, according to the brief, ‘in a poor state of repair and has been vacant for [around] 17 years. Whilst the site has been identified as a regeneration opportunity for a number of years, it has always struggled to find a viable redevelopment, due to a number of constraints associated with it.’
The council says the latest project will ‘provide a space for collaboration and innovation across the creative, digital and technology sectors. In addition, the council is open to suggestions regarding potential other uses to strengthen the commercial viability of the scheme, if needed, including residential, hotel and leisure.’
Kidderminster is around 27km south-west of Birmingham. Since the 18th century, the settlement has been an important centre of carpet manufacturing with more than 30 looms operating locally at Kidderminster’s peak in the 1950s.
The project focuses on a 0.5ha site occupied by the courthouse and a disused indoor market. The complex was originally built as a carpet factory in the late 19th century.
The new innovation hub will feature multiuse offices, fabrication spaces, a co-working area, a 300-capacity performance and events space, a recording studio, and a bar.
The winning team will receive around £100,000 to deliver RIBA Stages 1-2 and a business case, and then around £150,000 more to complete RIBA Stages 3-4 including detailed designs to support a planning application.
The scheme is one of three successfully submitted by the council to the Future High Streets Fund initiative. The design development work will assist the local authority in making a full second stage application to the fund.
Bids will be evaluated 70 per cent on quality and 30 per cent on cost. The deadline for applications is 1pm, 6 December.
How to apply
View the contract notice for more information
Wyre Forest District Council
Wyre Forest House