Banbury's regeneration continues with town centre business opening
Banbury town centre got another boost last week as a long vacant building has finally been re-purposed and re-opened.
Guardian House, the former offices of the Banbury Guardian on North Bar Street, opened last week as serviced offices, giving Banbury's old town an economic boost.
The opening was attended by Banbury mayor, Cllr John Colegrave, potential clients of Guardian House and the masterminds behind the project, husband and wife team Andy and Vashti Bedwell of Point of Difference Workspace Limited.
Andy said: "We love the fact that there is a lot of history in the building, so we have kept the Guardian identity by calling it Guardian House.
"Its been a lovely refurb, as ever there were some complications but we got there in the end."
That end result is three floors of office space ranging from permanent single desks to large, open space offices. There are also kitchen facilities on each floor.
In addition to keeping the name of its previous and most famous occupier the interior also displays links to its newspaper heritage with newspaper print wallpaper and decades old photographs of the paper in its heyday.
Geographically Guardian House, when fully occupied, should give a much needed boost that part of the town.
Vashti said: "We want to be part of the towns regeneration, especially the old town as that feels a bit neglected. Everyone comes in through Castle Quay so it is nice that we will have people going into town from this end."
This is the third such venture Andy and Vashti have undertaken having similar properties in Aylesbury and Bicester. A byproduct of the couples business is to breathe new life into often long closed buildings.
Vashti said: "We found that we like taking old, unloved buildings and bringing them back to life."
Already Guardian House has attracted the attention of the business world with several offices already let.
One new occupant is Octave Creative Agency ran by Will Calver and Mark Johnson, who have relocated from Northamptonshire.
Will said: "It was the obvious choice really as there is a lot going on in the town. We did look at other options but it became quite clear that Banbury was the place."
Mark added: "We were out in the sticks in a barn on a farm basically so we had a discussion; do we do the same thing again? but we thought, actually if we're in the community it will be a lot easier to get out and meet clients."
Banbury mayor, Cllr Colegrave added: "It's great for the town and its really nice to be opening a business in the town centre rather than see businesses shutting to then be converted to residential.
"So I think it's really good news, get people working in the town. It's a different concept and I wish it the best of luck."
For more information about Guardian House, visit their website.