Councillor receives assurances over shoe firm's expansion

Church's is still intending to press ahead with its expansion, according to Councillor Hadland
Church's is still intending to press ahead with its expansion, according to Councillor Hadland

A Northampton shoe making firm is still intending to expand its factory five years after land was secured for the deal - a councillor has said.

Councillor Tim Hadland, cabinet member for regeneration on Northampton Borough Council, told other members he had held ‘very recent’ discussions with Church’s about its expansion project.

Back in 2013 the borough council, with the help of the Home and Communities Agency, helped secure land occupied by the former bus depot next to the firm’s factory in St James Road, allowing it the space to expand.

The company, which was formed in 1873 but purchased by Prada in 1999, said the expansion would create up to 150 jobs.

Then leader of the council, David Mackintosh, added that it was part of the ‘exciting growth and development of the area and contributes to the wider regeneration of the town’.

But five years later, questions have been asked by Liberal Democrat councillor Brian Markham as to whether the project is still on the cards.

At a full council meeting on Monday (September 10), Cllr Markham asked Cllr Hadland: “The then leader of the council was shown with executives of the shoe firm, announcing that the 150 new jobs were being created by the company.

“Has the cabinet member for regeneration any news as to when this exciting and valuable project to boost manufacturing in the town will be going ahead?”

Although Cllr Hadland gave no timescales, he responded: “In a recent discussion with the company they confirmed that it remains their intention to proceed with the development in due course.”