Delapre Abbey hopes to be able to proceed with 19th century stable block conversion with council decision

Buildings currently used for storage could be transformed into spaces for creative business or for retail, a café and a microbrewery

Monday, 13th September 2021, 5:28 pm
Updated Monday, 13th September 2021, 5:30 pm

Delapré Abbey in Northampton might soon be able to proceed with plans to boost its offer to visitors by converting a 19th century stable block.

The buildings, to the north of the main abbey site, are currently used for storage but could be transformed into spaces for creative business or for retail, a café and a microbrewery.

Delapré Abbey Preservation Trust (DAPT) reached an agreement with Northampton Borough Council in February 2020 for a lease on the building based on several conditions being met by August 7, 2021.

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Delapre Abbey

That date was missed due to delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic so a year’s extension is proposed and expected to be approved at West Northamptonshire Council's cabinet meeting tomorrow (Tuesday, September 14).

Cabinet member for finance, Malcolm Longley, said: “The creation of an additional attraction at the site will help boost the local economy and increase visitors to the abbey itself.

“The alternative is that we continue to maintain the buildings at a cost to the people of West Northamptonshire and that they provide no wider benefit.

“As an agreement had already been made with NBC and there are good reasons why the original deadline was not met, we believe this extension is the most practical way forward.”

The other conditions for the lease were DAPT obtaining satisfactory planning permission, the landlord – now West Northamptonshire Council – having approved the plans and secured vacant possession of the property.

If agreed by the cabinet, a new lease will be signed which aligns with the existing lease on the rest of the abbey site.

Delapré Abbey chief executive Richard Clinton said: “The 19th century stable block offers an exciting opportunity to bring back to life an important part of the 550-acre site.

“A new feasibility plan has been developed in response to the impacts and demands created from the pandemic.

“The curation of the uses of the site are currently being developed, as these plans take shape we look forward to sharing them with the public.

“We are keen to ensure the final offer complements the existing visitor attraction, helps support a thriving visitor economy, creates jobs and importantly supports the needs of our communities.”