The nature of offices and ‘business parks’ is changing, the ‘open plan’ and ‘cellular’ workplaces of the past are changing. In fact even workshops and manufacturing workplaces are changing in a similar way.
Individuals are becoming, or can be, more productive because of the technology now available, it is therefore the collaboration and connections between people that is becoming more important than the traditional ‘office’.
Kettering town centre has a variety of empty buildings and storeys that could be opened up under Council control / initiative along the lines of Chesham House with more loosely defined workspaces / formal meetings / informal meetings etc. Which together with the variety of coffee / eating establishments could form that C21 work environment only an hour from international connections through St. Pancras International Station and the four readily accessible international airports nearby, not forgetting the even closer Sywell!
The Royal Hotel and any surplus space in the Council Offices would be super seed projects along the line of the new ‘science park’ in Singapore (heavily downscaled). The missing element in Kettering is, of course, the lack of a University. However, it should be easy to set one up around the principle of apprenticeships rather than degrees. Degrees have been progressively downgraded over recent years by many educational establishments and government policies. There are a few large companies in and around the town that could assist their own futures by supporting such an initiative. The County has been quite successful with the new ‘technical colleges’, an a variant of that model could be a feed to, and of, the ‘start up’ businesses that could be fostered.
A bit ‘left field’ perhaps, but Kettering needs a ‘kick up the arse’ to thrive rather than having a history of ‘bumbling along’, at which it excels.