Flats plan for former Northampton furniture store is in jeopardy

An artist's impression of Tivoli Court, which would replace the former Sofa King building
An artist's impression of Tivoli Court, which would replace the former Sofa King building

The plan to replace the former Sofa King store in Northampton with flats is in doubt because the promised number of affordable homes cannot in fact be delivered.

The owner of the iconic structure - formerly the Tivoli cinema - in St Leonard's Road, Far Cotton, was granted planning permission to demolish the building in January 2018 and replace it with a block of flats.

The scheme comprised 40 homes, 14 of which were to be classed as 'affordable'.

But Northampton company Bauhaus Living have since signed an agreement with the owner to take the project forward, and now want to remove the affordable housing element.

Failing to do so, they say, makes the project impossible.

Matt Collerson of planning consultants CC Town Planning - who are working for Bauhaus Living - said: "The [viability assessment] concludes that the provision of affordable housing is making the scheme unviable and will therefore not come forward for development."

He adds: "Even without affordable housing a full developer profit margin is not achieved, however the applicant would still bring the site forward on this basis."

The Government's definition of an affordable homes is one that costs no more than 80 per cent of the average local market rent.

For affordable ownership, the mortgage payments on the property should be more than rent on council housing, but below market levels.