Council chiefs are set to draft in a Yorkshire flexible working spaces specialist to manage a prestige regeneration project in Accrington.

Harrogate-based 2-Work Group has been selected as the preferred operator by Hyndburn Council for a shared workspace complex within Burtons Chambers, off Market Square.

Borough leaders had appointed CBRE to mastermind the procurement process for the development, which forms part of the council's levelling-up regeneration work alongside reviving Accrington Market Hall and the nearby Market Chambers.

Cllr Mohammed Younis, cabinet member for levelling up, reported to a cabinet meeting that the operator had "extensive experience" for the five-year appointment.

Councillors have been told the council will be liable for all costs in connection with the operation of the shared workspace, either directly or by payments to the operator.

Revenue returns to the authority, in the event these exceeded operating costs, would be split 60 per cent for the council and 40 per cent for the operator.

Councillors were informed it was expected the operation would begin to generate a profit in either its third or fourth year.

Labour's Cllr Melissa Fisher asked if there had been any shortfalls identified in the appointment and if the risk was all on the council’s side and what plans were in place after the initial two-year operating period to reduce risk.

Cllr Younis is said to have expressed confidence in the operator, which manages shared workspace ventures in Wakefield and Leeds, and that £500,000 was being held in reserve concerning the scheme.

Cabinet members agreed to endorse 2-Work as the approved operator and give delegated authority for senior officials to sign a management agreement with the Harrogate firm.

It was also agreed that £450,000 from the council's levelling-up contingency reserve would be allocated to cover any shortfalls in the first two years of net operating income.

Work on procuring an eventual operator for Accrington Market Hall is still in progress.