Flats plan for former cinema in Northampton back on the table

Bid to demolish building and create 40 flats

Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 8:44 pm
Updated Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 8:48 pm
The building was previously occupied by Sofa King
The building was previously occupied by Sofa King

A plan to demolish a former cinema building in Northampton and build 40 flats is set to be discussed again by borough councillors.

Roses Drapery Stores Ltd has applied to Northampton Borough Council for permission to demolish the old Tivoli Cinema in Towcester Road which now stands empty after previously being used as a sofa company store.

The plan includes the building of a retail unit at ground floor level as well as 39 car parking spaces and cycle storage facilities.

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The application is due to be discussed by members of the planning committee on Tuesday (March 16) and is recommended for approval in principle subject to the finalisation of a Section 106 Legal Agreement.

A report to councillors, states it was previously granted full planning approval in January 2018. The new application has been submitted due to the expiry of the original 2017 consent.

It states the application site is relatively level in nature and is also located within an identified flood zone.

The Environment Agency has no objection to the plan as long as it is undertaken in accordance with the submitted Flood Risk Assessment. The Local Lead Flood Authority has no objection subject to conditions on surface water drainage.

The plan proposes a five-storey building matching exactly in appearance the scheme 'approved in principal' by committee members in October.

It incorporates a number of gable end projections along the elevations of the site to assist in breaking up the bulk of the building and to provide interest to the street scene.

It states: 'With the design matching that recently approved in principle and with the design providing an attractive development which would contribute to the character and appearance of the street scene and redeveloping a long vacant unit, it is considered that the proposal would be acceptable in design terms.'

However, the Town Centre Conservation Area Advisory Committee is objecting to the plan.

It states in the report: 'existing building a loved and important part of the local history. Replacement is bland and unimaginative design. Increase in residents would put pressure on traffic and local services. Sewers would not be able to cope. Flooding concerns. If approved, request condition architectural and archeological assessment of the building and grounds prior to demolition and archeological exploration before rebuilding.'

Councillor Graham Walker is also objecting to the application stating the issue of flooding and the Victorian sewers in the area, also the problem with parking stating that 40 spaces is not enough.

Councillor Emma Roberts has called the application to the committee raising several the following concerns: 'what checks have been made about the preservation of the building; building has promised housing but not been forthcoming; previous concerns of residents ignored such as insufficient parking; has consideration been given to underground parking in an area subject to flooding, if cars and properties can not be insured causing more problems for occupants.'

Two neighbour letters were received by the council, one raising an objection and the other raising comments summarised as follows: loss of light to flats in St Leonards Road; height will dwarf all surrounding properties; lack of parking spaces for flats - there is an existing parking issue in the area; impact of increased vehicles on traffic on St Leonards Road during rush hour.

The report's conclusion states: 'It is considered, subject to conditions, the proposal represents an effective land use and would have a neutral impact upon visual and neighour amenity, the highway system and flood risk, while contributing to the supply of new housing within the borough and thre redevelopment of a vacant site.'