Completion date announced for 20-home "affordable" housing site in busy Northampton area

New housing site in built-up part of town set to open soon

Thursday, 21st October 2021, 8:17 am

A completion date has been set for 20 new "affordable" homes on a brownfield site in a busy area of Northampton.

The Piano Works housing site, in St James' Vicarage Road, is set to be finished by December this year after work began in August 2020.

The site comprises of seven two-bedroom and nine three-bedroom houses, as well as four two-bedroom maisonettes. All of the dwellings are two storeys high, and classed as ‘affordable homes’. Half of the properties will be "affordable" rent and the other half shared ownership.

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The homes are located in Vicarage Road, St James

Behind the project is local firm MWK Architects and the housing association group Platform.

Director of MWK Architects, Dominic Kramer said this project has been in the pipeline for nine years, since 2012.

He said: "It's just brilliant, we're nearly finished.

"I used to live in Jimmy's End and go past that site and it was burnt out. I thought, 'come on, you're a local architect and it's on your local patch, you can't leave it derelict.

There are 20 homes in total at the Piano Works site

"We have just gone that extra mile. Having lived round there we put a lot into them."

However, it hasn't been a straight forward journey for MWK and Platform during the project.

Dominic said: "It took us years [to push this through]. The site was owned by five different people and it took us years to bring four of them together to sell the site.

"Something like this should not take anymore than 2-2.5 years to develop a site like that.

"This is a site that ticked the box for everybody - a derelict site, in the middle of other housing, it's got a lovely primary school, supermarkets nearby."

And through the nine year process, Dominic said councillor Rufia Ashraf, of the St James ward and currently the mayor of Northampton, was 'really helpful'.

Dominic said: "Through all of this, councillor Ashraf has been really helpful. Rufia lives in one of the next streets and has always been very supportive.

"She's stepped in and pushed things on. I think she wants to come and cut the ribbon, and it would be well deserved. She has come up trumps."

The former St James Works site was partially demolished after a fire in the mid-2010s. The building had previously been used for paper recycling and also as a car breakers.