An eyesore or a landmark? Northampton apartment plan set for approval despite 150 objections

The plan is to turn FMS Motors into a block of flats and a large convenience store. But there has been little support for the scheme.

The plan is to turn FMS Motors into a block of flats and a large convenience store. But there has been little support for the scheme.

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A plan to convert a car lot into apartments in Northampton is set for approval - even though it was refused last time for being “overwhelming” and “out of keeping”.

Northampton Borough Council’s planning committee turned down Venulum Trinity Limited’s bid to build 14 apartments and a shop on the corner of Kingsthorpe Grove and Stanhope Road in April.

But next week a revised plan set to come back to the committee has been recommended for approval.

It has now garnered 150 objections, with some describing the building as a “1970s office block”.

One Trinity Avenue resident wrote: “It’s over-dominant, overbearing, outside of established building lines”.

Councillor Jane Birch (Lab, Trinity) who called in the application to be decided by committee, said: “These flats have no architectural merit”.

Aside from the look and height of the structure, some are concerned that a shop is not needed in the area, that the building would create lengthy shadows around the surrounding area.

But planning officers say that the building - far from being ugly - could be a “landmark feature”.

A report set to go before the committee reads: “The replacement building has been designed with the aim of making a positive visual impact on the character of the area and rather than being out of character, it is considered that the proposal would result in a landmark feature, which would enhance the area.”

The plan would involve demolishing the building once used by FMS Limited used car sales.

Venulum Trinity says it has gone back to the drawing board since the previous scheme was turned down.

It says it has now got rid of a “colonnade feature”, has reduced the roof height and introduced a more “active” frontage onto Kingsthorpe Grove.

The plan will be heard by the committee at the Guildhall on Tuesday, June 14, at 6pm.