An historic bus depot, which a residents group is fighting to save, is under offer and could soon be sold, it has been claimed.
St James Residents’ Association (SJRA) wants to take over the old First Northampton depot, which was vacated by the bus company after it pulled all of its services out of Northampton last month.
The site, in St James Road, opened in 1904 to serve the town’s electrified tram system, and became a bus depot in 1934.
The garage was also used in the Second World War to make sections of the iconic Avro Lancaster bomber.
SJRA wants the depot to be placed on the register of community assets, so it can buy it and transform it into a heritage and community hub, with a shop, a library and transport heritage centre, and small business and social enterprise units.
But the site will be attractive to companies as it sits on the edge of Northampton’s Enterprise Zone, which means any business setting up there can access benefits such as rate relief and superfast broadband.
SJRA secretary, Graham Croucher, told the Chron he believes the building could soon be sold.
He said: “The borough council have told us they are under the impression it is under offer.
“We are still in discussions with the council and want to do all we can to protect the historic part of the building.
“I would hope any developer would work with the borough council, and the council would support us.
“Our suggestion would not only create jobs in the centre, but in the wider community as well.”
Northampton Borough Council leader, Councillor David Mackintosh (Con, Rectory Farm), said: “We fully understand the importance of this historic building to the town, but we are also mindful that this is a key gateway to the Enterprise Zone.
“We are talking to the owners of the bus depot about how we can use the site in future.
“I think we have found a solution which will suit both parties.”
Labour group leader, Councillor Terry Wire (Lab, St James), is supporting the residents’ bid to take over the building.
He said: “This is a genuine example of local people trying to take control over their own neighbourhood and enrich it for future generations.
“Over the years we have lost so many historic buildings here in Northampton and it would be a real shame to lose another for the sake of more modern development.”