Former Northampton leatherworks building to be turned into flats after planning approval

A former leatherworks building in Northampton will be converted into 20 flats after councillors approved the planning application on Tuesday (January 21).

Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 10:54 am
Updated Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 10:56 am
The remaining building at the former Pearce leatherworks factory on Wellingborough Road will be converted into flats

The scheme for the former Pearce Leatherworks factory, located on Wellingborough Road, was unanimously approved by members of Northampton Borough Council's planning committee.

The Art Deco-styled office was used for over 60 years and the original factory that stood behind it was demolished for housing in 2010, with 126 homes having already been built there.

Officers had recommended the scheme, which would also include three live-work offices, be approved as it would 'help to secure a viable use for an important listed building that is deteriorating’. It has stood empty since 2002.

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Andy Lord, development manager for the applicants Clayson Homes, told councillors: "This will help save an iconic listed building before any further damage arises from vandalism or the passage of time."

He added that the scheme 'respects the original design' and says no objections have been raised. He also told councillors that they had a buyer lined up for the property subject to a 'positive decision' being taken by the committee.

This latest application was largely similar to a previous scheme that was already granted planning permission in 2017, though that was for 14 flats rather than the newly proposed 20.

The 20 flats would be comprised of six one-bedroom flats; 13 two-bedroom flats and a single three-bedroom flat.

But a lengthy debate then focused on the lack of electric vehicle charging points. New council policy requires one charging point per unit, but officers said that would make the scheme 'unviable'. The officers continued to recommend approval as they considered it more important to secure the long term future of the listed building.

Mr Lord said that putting in 20 EV charging points would be difficult, but told councillors they could stretch it to five. A condition was added to include the five electric vehicle charging spaces, which appeared to sway the councillors.

Councillor Andrew Kilbride, one of the members of the committee, said: "I know this site very well. I know the residents who brought houses next to the site think it's been an eyesore, and I welcome the advancement of this scheme."