Flats of the future: Developers planning 800-home land grab in Northampton town centre

So-called "rat island" is set to become flats with the possibility for commercial use.
So-called "rat island" is set to become flats with the possibility for commercial use.

Town planners are hoping to build more than 800 homes in the centre of Northampton as the town gears up for an influx of thousands of extra students next year.

Last month, Northampton Borough Council revealed that nearly 70 parcels of land had been offered up by developers as suitable for housing after it made pleas for landowners to come forward.

The building above BBC Radio Northampton's town centre headquarters is earmarked for flats.

The building above BBC Radio Northampton's town centre headquarters is earmarked for flats.

The borough needs to build 20,000 extra homes by 2029 to meet population growth and is currently falling around 3,000 short of that figure.

But analysis of the 70 proposed sites being put forward shows that 805 homes are planned for Northampton town centre itself, otherwise known as the Castle ward.

The sites range from 270 homes proposed for the former Northampton Railway Station car park, to a set of 21 flats earmarked for the space above The Ridings Arcade.

Almost all of the proposed developments are for flat blocks, many of which will include provision for student accommodation.

Land at Great Russell Street in the Mounts is among the proposed areas.

Land at Great Russell Street in the Mounts is among the proposed areas.

A full list of the sites earmarked can be found on the borough council's website, here.
A summary of the town centre sites proposed is below.

1) Former Northampton Railway Station car park, 270 homes. Description: Residential development of 270 homes will also include office space and a multi-storey car park.

2) The Ridings Arcade 61 - 63 St Giles Street, (upper floors) 21 flats.

3) Compton House, 83-85 Abington Street, 94 flats. Description: Flats would be built above the current BBC Radio Northampton premises in Abington Street.

4) 32 Great Russel Street, The Mounts, 12 houses.

5) 118-122 Wellingborough Road, 12 houses.

6) Belgrave House, Greyfriars Shopping Centre, 31 houses. Description: Former office blocks could become a residential student accommodation.

7) East Island, 42 flats. Description: The land, otherwise known as "rat island", to the rear of the Grosvenor Centre (see picture) is earmarked for a student housing block with potential commercial use on the ground floor.

8) Greyfriars, 266 flats. Description: This major town centre renovation scheme for the four-acre former bus station land could see either 266 flats or 150 flats and a further 81

retirement flats alongside student accommodation, restaurants, commercial studios, a cinema and a hotel.

9) Chapel Place, 12 flats. Description: Land between St Michael's Road and Abington Square would be brought back into use, but not before 2022.

10) St Johns Railway Embankment, 45 houses. Description: A section of the former St John's Street Station railway embankment can still be seen squeezed between Beckett's Park and Morrisons supermarket. Some of the land would also be used for commercial purposes.