Church conservation charity welcomes housing plan on vacant site in Northampton town centre

Peter Aiers, director of The Churches Conservation Trust, outside St Peter's Church

Peter Aiers, director of The Churches Conservation Trust, outside St Peter's Church

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The director of a charity that helps to preserve St Peter’s Church in Northampton town centre said he had no problem with 30 new houses being built on vacant land opposite the 12th century building.

Last week the Chronicle & Echo reported the news that Northamptonshire County Council was inviting architects to submit designs for a housing development on the site of the former Castle House in Marefair.

The vacant Castle House site where 30 houses could be built

The vacant Castle House site where 30 houses could be built

The plan has been forcefully opposed by Marie Dickie, chair of Friends of Northampton Castle (FONC), who believes the county council has gone back on a promise to turn the vacant site into a heritage park.

However, Peter Aiers, a director of the Churches Conservation Trust which looks after St Peter’s Church - situated opposite the Castle House site - said he would not be unhappy with a housing development along as it was designed “sympathetically” to the surrounding area.

He said: “We have lobbied the council that there should be something on the site that is either housing or commercial.

“There needs to be people and activity on the site. Although the plans need to be prepared with a great deal of creativity.

“The housing needs to be designed appropriately. If we don’t like the plans then we will say so.”

Mr Aiers said he believed there was still room for a heritage park on the site but believed the Castle House site wasn’t the right place as the ‘building line’ of the street, which has existed for hundreds of years, needed to be maintained.