Old Northampton Debenhams to be demolished and replaced with student flats after councillors approve plans

New building will also include shop, gym for residents and central garden courtyard

Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 1:00 pm

A planning application to demolish the former Debenhams building in Northampton town centre to build student flats, a gym and a shop has been approved.

West Northamptonshire Council's Northampton area planning committee gave the green light to the Drapery project at a meeting yesterday (Tuesday, October 5).

Debenhams closed its Northampton store after 60 years of trading along with all its other branches in May after going into administration.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Debenhams in the Drapery, Northampton, closed in May after the retail giant collapsed

The building will be replaced with 201 student studios with en-suites and kitchens, a central garden courtyard, a retail unit, refuse and cycle storage, roof terraces, study areas and a gym for use by residents only,

Access to the building will be from the Drapery, with secondary entrances from Swan Yard Lane and College Street.

The approval is subject to several conditions, including that work must begin onsite within three years and other considerations such as noise, asbestos, lighting and more.

A council officer's report on the application, which recommended approving it, read: "The proposed development represents an acceptable land use and would not have a significant adverse impact upon the character and appearance of the surrounding area, All Saints Conservation Area, neighbouring amenity, the highway system, or crime and safety.

An artists' impression of the block of student flats in the Drapery, Northampton, which will replace the old Debenhams store

"Whilst the development will result in some harm to the historic environment with the loss of the existing building, this harm is assessed as being less that substantial and any harm would be outweighed by the public benefits of the scheme by ensuring a long-term viable use for the site."

Prior to its closure, Debenhams was a presence in Northampton from 1952 when it bought the Adnitt Brothers store in the Drapery, rebranding it in 1973.

It was also the last of the town’s department stores to close for good following the loss of BHS, Marks and Spencer and House of Fraser.