Plans have again been refused to convert an empty Northampton shopping centre into 352 student flats.
At a planning committee meeting on Wednesday (May 4), West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) refused plans to convert Market Walk shopping centre, in Market Square, into student accommodation.
The applicant, Urban Village Group, was proposing to use the two floors and then construct a three-storey extension to the building to accommodate the flats.
But a WNC spokesman said the plans would result in a “stark, dominating, overpowering, obtrusive and incongruous” appearance, which would “harm” the character and appearance of the building and the surrounding area.
The spokesman also said the proposal would result in the provision of “unacceptable” living conditions for the majority of the future occupants because of “poor natural light levels, poor outlook, and poor privacy levels” inside the flats.
This is now the second time WNC has refused Urban Village Group's proposals for Market Walk.
The applicant previously submitted similar plans but for 395 student flats instead of 352, which were refused in November 2020 for the exact same reasons - a lack of sunlight inside the apartments.
Following this first refusal, Urban Village Group's Operations manager Liz Foley threatened to take the firm's £23 million elsewhere.
Urban Village Group has been contacted for comment.
Market Walk was approved for a “flexible change of use” plan in May 2020, which means it can be converted into just about anything if developers come forward with reasonable proposals.
For example, there is currently another major planning application from a different developer to convert the site into a multi-use complex, which would comprise of a indoor market, gym, hotel, and flats.
These plans propose to build an indoor market on the ground floor, a pod hotel and five flats on the second floor, 20 flats and a gym on a new third floor, and the creation of a new fourth and fifth floor to accommodate for a combined 30 flats. A decision is yet to be made by WNC.