EXCLUSIVE: Most detailed plans yet seen on the Grosvenor Centre redevelopment are revealed

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THE MOST detailed plans ever published for the redevelopment of the Grosvenor Centre have been revealed by the mall’s owners, Legal & General.

The images, which were due to go on show at the centre this morning, show for the first time exactly how radically Northampton would change if the Greyfriars bus station was demolished and 60 new shops and a hotel were built in its place.

Speaking to the Chron, Legal & General’s senior fund manager, Simon Russian, admitted the development had been talked about for years and acknowledged there was scepticism about it among some of Northampton’s shoppers, but he pledged the firm was 100 per cent behind the project and would submit a planning application for the development before the end of the year, with work expected to start on site by 2014 and be completed by 2017.

He said: “I’ve been doing these sort of schemes for 20 years and this is a very challenging one.

“But we’re very confident we’ve got it right now and we’ve met the needs of the town with these plans.

“It’s been talked about for a long time, we all know that, but it’s now coming to fruition.”

The plans reveal much of the new centre would be open air, with old streets which were demolished to make way for the Greyfriars bus station reinstated – restoring direct links between the town centre and Lady’s Lane.

They also show the development would stretch all the way from the Mayorhold car park to the crown court building.

Among the plans for the new-look centre are 60 new shops, more than doubling the number in the current centre, a hotel close to the current Mayorhold car park and a large new department store, which it is believed could be filled by House of Fraser.

The existing Grosvenor Centre would also undergo major changes and renovation, with walkways created through the mall into the new extension.

Mr Russian said: “We want it to be more like an extension of the town centre, rather than a new shopping centre and we want to get people into Northampton who don’t currently come, people who now go to Milton Keynes or Market Harborough.”

While the plans show in great detail where new shops would go, it has not yet been decided where a new bus station will be built, with options at the moment including Sheep Street, the Mayorhold area and Lady’s Lane.

Mr Russian has said however that major roadworks would be carried out, with the existing Greyfriars road built over and the current layout of Lady’s Lane changed.

The Legal & General executive will be on-hand at the Grosvenor Centre today to explain the plans to residents. While he acknowledged many people were cynical about the development, as it was first announced in 2000 and no building work has yet begun, he said he hoped people would be excited when they saw how much planning was now going on.

He said: “We like Northampton. It’s a growing place with a real, un-tapped market and it’s only going to get better.

“So this is a serious commitment from us. We want everybody to get behind us and the people of Northampton to feel a part of it and excited about it.”

Shoppers can say what they like or dislike about the plan, say what type of shops they would like to see in a new-look Grosvenor Centre and talk to officials from Legal & General during the two-day presentation of the scheme which is being held outside the Superdry store in the centre both today and tomorrow.