Battle over future of Northampton wasteland

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A battle over the future of a huge section of land near 
Northampton town centre will begin next week.

The former power station site in Nunn Mills Road, close to Avon’s headquarters, has been derelict for years.

A two-week hearing will be held at Franklin’s Gardens from Wednesday next week to decide on its future.

On one side of the argument is expected to be the West Northamptonshire Development Corporation (WNDC), which will argue it should be allowed to compulsory purchase the land to push forward its redevelopment plans.

On the other side will be builder Taylor Wimpey, which co-owns the land and wants to put together a deal to create a new headquarters for The University of Northampton there.

The WNDC’s director of regeneration, Chris Garden, said: “Nunn Mills has huge potential and benefits from a high-profile waterside location.

“However, it has been largely derelict for several years due to the failure of the market, as well as complex land ownership and infrastructure issues. The compulsory purchase order will help us overcome these barriers and secure development .”

But Taylor Wimpey’s managing director, Dominic Harman, argued the compulsory purchase order would scupper a deal between his firm and the university. That deal would see Taylor Wimpey give the land at Nunn Mills to the university in exchange for between 20 and 30 acres of the university’s land at Boughton Green Road, where Taylor Wimpey would build new houses.

He said: “Far from speeding up and bringing forward the redevelopment of Nunn Mills, this costly and time-consuming action only serves to frustrate progress in the much-needed regeneration of this important area of Northampton.”

In case the deal with the university falls through, Taylor Wimpey is also working on plans to build 750 houses on the Nunn Mills site.