Major centre for leather to be built after council agrees sale of Albion House

Albion House is being sold off by Northampton Borough Council.Albion House is being sold off by Northampton Borough Council.
Albion House is being sold off by Northampton Borough Council.
A council building earmarked to become a new car park will instead become the hub for a new Centre for Leather – after the borough council agreed to sell it off.

Albion House, which is next to the St John’s multi-storey car park on Victoria Promenade, has been owned by the council since November 2014. But now the authority has agreed to sell the building to a charitable trust which will make the building a place for all things leather in the town.

The sale was approved at Wednesday evening’s cabinet meeting (December 16) with Councillor Tim Hadland, the cabinet member for regeneration, saying: “We now have the marvellous opportunity of selling the building to a charitable trust which will in turn enable the collection of the leather museum, the conservation centre, livery companies and all the national leather highlights to come together in one place and secure them a permanent home for the future. It’s very exciting for the town and for the country as we have a national reputation.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The four-storey building is only partly occupied, with parts used as storage for the council’s democratic services and regeneration teams. A Liberal Democrat motion calling on the authority to sell the building off was rejected last November, with Councillor Hadland at the time saying that selling it off would reduce the council’s income and there was ‘no harm’ in keeping hold of it.

Just over a year later though, cabinet members were told that the building would make a ‘natural home’ for a major centre for leather. They were also told it would help University students on design and leather courses be able to train there. It had previously been earmarked to be demolished so that the car park could be extended onto the land.

A report to cabinet members states: “The council does not have the resources, expertise or funding to develop a leather centre of this nature and has decided the best way to support this initiative is to sell the site by private treaty to an experienced and credible charitable foundation. There would be no funding passed to the foundation through this transaction and the foundation will buy the site at market value.”

The trust has not yet been named but is said to have ‘experience and financial credibility’ to launch the centre. The market value of the building will be determined independently by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Related topics: