The Government has backed plans to demolish Northampton’s Fishmarket building so a new bus station for the town can be built in its place.
Members of Northampton Borough Council’s planning committee approved the demolition of the Fishmarket at the beginning of July.
But because the building is in a conservation area, final approval for the development had to be agreed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles (pictured right).
In a letter sent to the council earlier this month, Mr Pickles’s department confirmed the minister had given the green light for the development.
The letter said Mr Pickles had made his decision after considering concerns raised by English Heritage about the development.
It said: “The Secretary of State has carefully considered these matters.
“He has considered the effect which demolition would have on the building’s surroundings and on the conservation area as a whole and has taken account of the proposals for redevelopment of the site.
“Overall, the Secretary of State is persuaded that these benefits outweigh the concerns raised on the impact of the works on the conservation area.” The move means demolition work on the Fishmarket site will start in November.
The leader of Northampton Borough Council, Councillor David Mackintosh (Con, Rectory Farm) welcomed the Government’s backing of the scheme, particularly as it came at a time when rumours were circulating that the bus station development could be delayed.
He said: “I don’t know where these rumours have come from, I even had a few people email me to ask if they were true.
“But there is no truth in the rumours at all, everything is still going ahead as planned.”
It is hoped work to completed the development of the £6.5 million bus station will be finished by November 2013.