Iconic shoemaker Church’s has revealed plans to buy the First Bus depot in St James in a move which would see it expand its existing factory and create up to 150 jobs.
Northampton Borough Council has brokered a deal with Church’s which would see the bus depot in St James Road developed, together with land owned by the Homes and Communities Agency, as the site for expansion of the Church’s shoe factory.
An agreement over the sale of the depot, which sits on the edge of the Waterside Enterprise Zone will be discussed at a council meeting next week.
Church’s chief executive Stephen Etheridge said: “At Church’s we are proud to be part of Northampton’s heritage and the town’s bright future.
“It is an exciting time for us, and with our current site at maximum capacity with no room to develop, we have been exploring a number of different options.
“The Enterprise Zone gives us the opportunity to secure the long term future of the brand in St James which we consider to be key as we continue to develop and grow.
“Expanding onto the former First Bus depot would enable us to invest in new operations and facilities, creating around 150 new jobs over five years.
“The depot has some distinctive elements and every effort will be made to retain these and the general character of the site.”
The leader of Northampton Borough Council, Councillor David Mackintosh (Con, Rectory Farm), added: “The St James depot is a prime site and it’s important that it’s part of the exciting growth and development of the area and contributes to the wider regeneration of the town.
“The building has been part of our town’s landscape for more than a century and the action we are taking will see the site swiftly brought back into use, and another successful project delivered.
“This will not only create jobs, but see investment into a traditional Northampton-based company, which will see more high quality shoes being sold around the world with the ‘made in Northampton’ mark proudly displayed.”
The cabinet meeting to discuss the plans takes place at the Guildhall on Wednesday, September 11.