Updates have been given on the progress of redevelopment on three key town centre sites in Northampton.
The sites at Greyfriars, St Edmunds and the former Chronicle & Echo building had laid empty for many years, but recent work has taken place on some of those sites.
Now Northampton Borough Council’s cabinet member for regeneration, Councillor Tim Hadland, has given an update on each of the three sites.
The former Chron site in Upper Mounts has seen the most obvious redevelopment, with an Aldi supermarket all but built and soon to open. But Labour Councillor Arthur McCutcheon has questioned when houses that formed part of the scheme would also be delivered.
Councillor Hadland responded: “The council is encouraging the developer to bring forward the houses as part of a comprehensive scheme. The original planning permission is a hybrid application with the Aldi store approved under full permission and the housing under an outline approval.
“The Aldi store is currently under construction. The planning permission requires the applicant to submit a marketing strategy of the housing site before the store opening.
“Whilst the council is unable to compel the land owner to implement a planning permission, this will provide some certainty that the site would be marketed for a reasonable period of time and maximise the chances of a housing developer coming forward for this part of the site.”
Asked about the former St Edmunds hospital site, where smaller scale works have started on building a 130 apartment retirement village and 62-bed specialist care home, Councillor Hadland added: “Work is progressing towards restoring the shell of the building to make it watertight and the developers have advised that they anticipate the roof will be replaced by mid-October.”
The site of the former Greyfriars bus station, which was demolished in 2015, remains unused however. Plans for a complex including student accommodation, flats, a cinema and various restaurant chain fell through last year after talks with developers broke down.
With little given away as to its future use, Councillor Hadland admitted that the council were exploring ‘more innovative uses for the site’, with a retail study currently being conducted.
He said: “We have engaged professional advisors to help inform us on the viability of a range of usages that might be included, from which detailed traffic analysis is to be undertaken, to ensure that uses can be accommodated without causing traffic issues in what is already an area of high traffic flow. In parallel with this we are engaging with developers who continue to show an interest in the site.”