Church’s Shoes to submit expansion plans in May following land deal

Chief Executive Stephen Etheridge.
Chief Executive Stephen Etheridge.

Iconic shoe manufacturer Church’s is expected to submit a planning application for its new factory in May, after Northampton Borough Council helped the firm secure the land it needs for its planned expansion.

The borough council has worked closely with the Homes & Communities Agency and private landowners to assemble a 4.5-acre site adjacent to the company’s headquarters in St James.

The company is now in a position to go ahead with the application process for a new facility which will create up to 140 new jobs in Northampton’s Waterside Enterprise Zone.

Stephen Etheridge, Church’s chief executive, said: “This transaction secures Church’s future in St James and provides us with space we need to expand and grow.”

The company will to submit a planning application for the multi million project in May and work is expected to start on site by August.

The first phase of the new facility could be in operation by Christmas 2015.

Church’s, which is owned by the Prada Group, already employs 650 people, many of who are highly-skilled. Apprentices form a significant part of the company’s plans for the new facility.

Councillor David Mackintosh, leader of Northampton Borough Council, said: “Church’s is an iconic brand and operates on a global stage.

“In recent years the company has expanded its retail arm and now had over of 50 stores across Central and Northern Europe, America, Hong Kong, China Singapore and Japan

“The company is already a major employer in Northampton, preserving skills which originally put Northampton on the map, and it is set to take an even bigger role in the town’s future.”

The new facility will be built on a site previously occupied by FirstBus as well as a few smaller parcels of land including an under-utilised area to the rear, off Lincoln Road.

It is likely that the bus depot frontage and old Northampton Corporation offices will be retained as part of the development, recognising the area’s heritage.