Scheme for 68 flats in Northampton 'will solve anti-social behaviour problems'

The proposed scheme, which will be decided upon by councillors
The proposed scheme, which will be decided upon by councillors

A plan to part-demolish a former Northampton factory and build almost 70 flats will solve a neighbourhood's anti-social behaviour problems, developers have claimed.

The former Barker shoe factory in Countess Road, Spencer, has become a magnet for nuisance behaviour ever since it was vacated about eight years ago.

Most recently occupied by ECB Brakes, the building is now the subject of a planning application to knock down parts of the original structure to create 54 flats and build a second, standalone block comprising a further 14 flats.

A document by architects the BB partnership says: "The site remains derelict and is becoming a hive for anti-social and criminal behaviour with intruders breaking the windows of the Barker Building to gain access and causing much damage to the interior of the building, as well as presenting a worrying safety concern despite repeatedly securing the building."

BB Partneship goes on to say that the applicant has been contacted several times by local residents, by the local police as well as by Councillor Gareth Eales regarding these issues. It adds that "there is strong support to develop the site, bringing it back into use and putting an end to such behaviour and activity."

According to site surveys, the vandalism has lead to water ingress and an infestation of pigeons, both of which have caused further damage.

As a consequence, the proposed works needing to be more invasive and costly which could affect the viability of the development.

Concluding, the application, the document claims the proposed flats would add some much-needed aesthetic value to the road.

It says: "The Barker Building has the potential to be a good-looking building in what is otherwise an unremarkable road devoid of any character or reminders of Northampton’s heritage. The sooner the decay of the building can be arrested, and it can be developed the better for everyone."