Council loses out in bid to buy former Northampton club and ‘enhance’ Greyfriars development offer

The borough council had attempted to buy the former Twentieth Century Club and Institute on Sheep Street via auction, but was outbid.

The borough council had attempted to buy the former Twentieth Century Club and Institute on Sheep Street via auction, but was outbid.

  • Northampton Borough Council sees bid to buy former Twentieth Century Club out-bid
  • Authority not informed of building sale until late in the day
  • Cabinet member used ‘delegated powers’ to make maximum £250,000 offer for site
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A borough council bid to buy a former club near the demolished Greyfriars bus station and market the site for development has failed after the authority was outbid at auction.

A report due to go to Northampton Borough Council’s next full Guildhall meeting on Monday, September 21, shows it had attempted to buy the large former Twentieth Century Club and Institute building at 42 Sheep Street in the town centre.

Cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and planning, Councillor Tim Hadland (Con, Old Duston) used his delegated powers as a cabinet member to bid for the site at an auction on July 9.

The report says the site could have been used to “enhance the development potential” of the now cleared Greyfriars site, as it adjoins a land currently owned by the council such as a pay and display car park and part of the former brutalist bus station situated on Ladys Lane.

However, the report says the bid was unsuccessful.

Councillor Hadland, said: “The Greyfriars site is a once in a generation opportunity to transform Northampton town centre and when 42 Sheep Street became available we thought we could add further to the offer to make the opportunity even more attractive to developers.

“Unfortunately we were outbid at auction, however the Greyfriars site is an extremely attractive proposition with four acres of prime town centre land for development.”

The council report states the authority had only been made aware of the auction of the Twentieth Century Club by Legal and General days before the sale was due to take place.

It adds that the council set itself an upper limit of £250,000 to buy the site.

It is not known who now owns the building.

While the report suggests the failure to buy the property at auction was a missed opportunity “to integrate the property into the council’s adjacent landholdings,” Councillor Hadland said developers are interested in the Greyfriars land.

“We have already received a great deal of interest from developers who have until October 9 to make initial expressions of interest.” He said.