New flats plan for disused building

TWO restaurants, a shop and 26 flats could be built at the site of a former insurance agents building in Wellingborough town centre.

Greenspace Solutions Ltd submitted a planning application to Wellingborough Council this week seeking permission to convert the property previously occupied by Best Deal Insurance at 2 Avon House, Tithe Barn Road.

The application includes plans for 12 one-bedroom flats and 14 two-bedroom flats.

The flats would be available for market housing and not for social rent.

It also proposes to convert the ground floor into one retail unit in the middle with a cafe or restaurant either side.

The application says the flats would be built to be sustainable, with high insulation, provision of water butts and locally-sourced materials used where possible.

In a report to the council, the applicant states: “We believe that the amount of development can satisfactorily be accommodated on the site and would not be out of character or context with its surroundings. It represents a high-quality design solution to accommodate the proposed commercial and residential units.

“We believe the proposal is of high architectural and design quality. It will integrate with and complement the neighbouring buildings in terms of scale, density, layout and quality.”

Cllr Graham Lawman said: “The building has been empty for a number of months and it’s welcome that plans have been submitted to bring it back into use so soon.

“Empty buildings can attract anti-social behaviour which is something we work hard to reduce.

“We recognise there would be a loss of office space if the change of use for the building was approved, but there is extra office capacity in nearby 12 Sheep Street and we are also intending to build more modern office space as part of our town centre regeneration plans.

“Residents are often appealing for a variety of places to go in the evening so a small shop and a couple of restaurants could be very beneficial for the community.”

Gary Smith, 48, of Wellingborough, said: “I think this application is a good idea. It will be a good thing for Wellingborough if they are going to build extra flats and amenities.”

The council’s planning committee will consider the scheme by July.