Councillor 'furious' after plans approved to convert iconic Northampton town centre building into gambling shop

The former cash machine right outside the building will be restored as part of the plans

By Logan MacLeod
Friday, 12th November 2021, 9:14 am

A town councillor is 'furious' after plans have been approved to convert an iconic Northampton town centre building into a gambling shop.

The former Nationwide branch in the Drapery will be brought 'back to life' after West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) approved Star MK Ltd's proposals.

On its decision, WNC said in planning papers: "The development would bring a long term vacant unit back into use to the benefit of the vitality and viability of the town centre."

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The former Nationwide branch in the Drapery will become a gambling shop on the ground floor and basement

However, Danielle Stone, councillor for the Castle ward, said: "I'm furious. It's terrible and not what we need. It's a beautiful building. We deserve something better there instead of another gambling shop."

Applicant Star MK Ltd said in the initial plans that 'no harm' would be caused to the outside of the building, which is located in the All Saints Conservation Area.

However, the inside of the building - the ground floor and basement - is set to be refurbished and a former cash machine outside the premises be restored.

Star MK Ltd said in planning papers: "We submit that no harm will be caused to this heritage asset. Indeed, the reverse may be argued since the proposed change of use, plus the conversion work, will bring the whole building back to life.

"The proposed change of use keeps the status quo in terms of shopping floor space and frontage. This use will create footfall around the town centre."

Work is also currently ongoing to convert the upper floors of the four-storey building into six flats.

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