Work has started on the conversion of the former Chellews building in St Ives into a new flexible workspace for business and community use.

The 1820 Grade II listed building on Fernlea Terrace, which has not been used for a number of years, was originally built as the home of the mine adventurer, solicitor, town clerk, and Member of Parliament for St Ives, James Halse.

Now it is being transformed into an enterprise hub by local community interest company, St Ives Workstation CIC

As well as workspace facilities for business, also on offer will be business advice, workshops and networking events for the local community, students, partners and members.

The building will offer 5,400sq ft of space for enterprise events, activities and training, as well as hot-desks, meeting facilities, enterprise project office, fixed desks and more permanent accommodation. Social and café space will also be available for users, and the building includes a lift, making all the floors accessible.

Enabling works are already underway, and the main building contract is being tendered with a view to resuming work on site in the autumn and over the winter, before the opening next year.

St Ives Workstation CIC chairman, Larry Magor, explained: “We’ve consulted and thought carefully at every stage about how the hub can benefit a spectrum of business, from small independents, hoping to grow, people looking to go freelance or start a social enterprise, and young people wanting to access training and sustainable employment in their local community without having to leave the area.

“We want to support the investment of skills, finance, ideas and creative talent in the local economy. Over the next year, we’ll be running a series of pre-and post-opening events with local entrepreneurs, educators and businesses to see how hub expertise can help develop ideas and job opportunities through co-working.”

The hub is funded through a Coastal Communities Fund grant of £3.25 million, which in turn will unlock further partnership investments in spoke initiatives for St Ives through enterprise funding.