Twenty student apartments set for Northampton town centre

The building houses Prezzo and Nando's on the ground floor
The building houses Prezzo and Nando's on the ground floor

A planning application has been submitted that would see 20 new student flats created in a prominent building in Northampton town centre.

The Wood Hill building houses Nandos and Prezzo on the ground floor, with office space on the floors above.

If approved, developers would create 20 ensuite student bedrooms - 10 on the first floor, and five each on the second and third floors.

Sursham Tompkins, an architects firm employed by the landlords, have promised that very little will change on the outside of the building, which sits in the All Saints Conservation Area

A statement to the Guildhall's planning committee says: "[It would] bring into long-term use the currently underused upper floors of 3-5 Wood Hill, providing student accommodation that will improve the vitality and viability of the town centre, and provide clear public benefits to the area.

"[It would] complement the character of the area... and help contribute to the long-term conservation of a non-designated heritage asset,"

Built in 1963, the basement, ground and first floor were occupied by HSBC Bank until 2008 with the top floors sub- let as offices.

The bank sold the entire building to Fernbrook Investments (UK) Ltd which divided the ground floor and basement in two and let the new spaces to the Nando's and Prezzo restaurants.

However, Sursham Tompkin's statement to the committee said there has been little sustained interest in the offices above over the last decade. And it claimed the building's upkeep now depended on Fernbrook Investments being able to generate income from the underused upper floors.

It says: "This was all good quality office space but needed modernisation.

"Refurbishment works were carried out and the office space briefly let, however, the site has been marketed regularly in order to secure long-term leases, with little interest.

"The applicant needs to secure a rental income for the total floor space, with a viable use, in order to maintain and preserve the building."

A decision on the application will be made by a Northampton Borough Council planning committee in the next few months.