Former bus depot on the market for £3.2m could be turned into 'high quality' homes as council revealed as buyers
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A massive former bus depot in a busy part of Northampton could be turned into ‘high-quality’ homes after the council confirmed today it is in the process of buying the site.
West Northants Council (WNC) has confirmed today (Monday, October 30) that it is the mystery potential buyer of the former St James Bus Depot, which was recently on the market with Chelton Brown estate agents for £3.2million.
Following a Chron and Echo report on Friday (October 27) revealing that the council paid £23,000 for a feasibility report into the site, the council has today (Monday) confirmed it is ‘taking steps’ to buy the four-acre brownfield site.
A council spokesman said the area has been identified as an area which could ‘significantly benefit from redevelopment’.
The spokeswoman said: “Since WNC was made aware of Church’s Shoes’ intention to sell the site, the council has been working closely with them. As one of the last remaining brownfield sites in Northampton, on a key route into the town centre, it is important for local businesses and the local community to make sure that the best regeneration and economic potential of the area is realised.
“WNC has engaged with Church’s to agree on the purchase of the building and is now looking at the future viability of the site through a feasibility study to ensure that any future development meets the needs of our residents and while maintaining the historic character of this landmark.”
Cllr Dan Lister, cabinet member for economic development, town centre regeneration and growth at WNC, revealed the council’s plans for the site, which includes the retention of the historical frontage and the creation of ‘high-quality’ homes.
Councillor Lister said: “The former St James Bus Depot boasts a prominent large brownfield site, central to Northampton town centre. This historic landmark has been vacant for some time, during which Church’s has added land to the site and carried out some remediation work.
“We have engaged with Church’s on the sale of this site in order to be able to bring forward a viable scheme which will benefit our residents. We are committed to retaining the historical and iconic frontage of this site and will be working with key partners to ensure that the area is empathetically regenerated.
“As part of the delivery of this scheme, we will seek to provide much-needed high-quality homes to accommodate the needs of our growing communities. The views of our residents are essential to ensure that this site meets the needs of our local community, and we will be looking at opportunities to hear their views on the coming months.”
Graham Croucher, chair of Northampton Transport Heritage and St James Residents' Association, who has been campaigning to ‘Save the Depot’, said he ‘cautiously welcomes’ the announcement.
Mr Croucher said: “We cautiously welcome this announcement in as much that a clear commitment has now been given to engage with local residents and businesses as well as maintaining historical aspects of this important building. We look forward to meeting with WNC to discuss a way forward and to hear what they have in mind. Our position remains the same; we need to see as much of this structure as is possible saved for the town as an asset, and that it compliments any plans that WNC put forward. Our application for listing building designation is very much alive.”