THE TRUST behind the redevelopment of the Literary and Scientific Institute (LSI) have appealed to the town council for "very urgent" help to ensure a workspace hub is kitted out when the building reopens.

The Bridport and Area Development Trust, which is coordinating the East Street project, has applied to Bridport Town Council for a grant of £3,200 to go towards creating 10 workstations and equipment for start-up businesses when the LSI reopens in six months time.

In a letter to the council, Mike Carter, chairman of the Bridport Area Development Trust, said: "Unlike the office areas which are to be let out on commercial terms with vacant possession, the work hub space is to be fully fitted out to offer on flexible and affordable terms, for immediate use by young and emerging businesses which is a key aim of the trust to encourage and promote local employment in the town.

"It is becoming very urgent that we negotiate and specify the equipment needed and install it in order to meet our timetable. To successfully attract the people who will want to use the LSI, we need to have the building ready and operational from the first day.

"We do not intend reducing our own fundraising efforts in the meantime, but a grant given by the town council would not only allow us to keep our critical path, but also inspire all of us towards the completion of this ambitious project."

Speaking at last week's finance and general purposes committee meeting, town clerk Bob Gillis, said: "This is a specific part of the overall project to support young people starting out in business.

"They are looking to get it kitted out - it will be state of the art.

"It is a space that makes a lot of sense to help the economic regeneration of the town."

Leader of the council, Cllr Sarah Williams, is also a member of the trust. She spoke at the meeting, but left before the matter was discussed.

She said: "If we can earmark it, it will make it a lot easier for them to get match funding.

"I think it's a really good project for Bridport. It will be a very useful and successful scheme like it has been in other places."

Cllr Sandra Brown said: "I think it would be a shame to not support it at this stage.

"I think it would be a shame for it to be held up. I have a couple of big question marks in my head but I support it."

Cllr Dave Rickard raised concerns about "anomalies" in the business plan.

He added: "I think we should support it, possibly not at such a great level but I would not like to go charging in.

"We need to know how sustainable and viable it is."

Councillors agreed to support in principle and earmark money but requested more information from the trust.