Work on Cransley Park site just outside Kettering could start soon

A decision on the application by St Francis Group at the Old Cransley Iron Works site was deferred at a planning meeting until March 8

A decision on the application by St Francis Group at the Old Cransley Iron Works site was deferred at a planning meeting until March 8

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Work to build five warehouses on a piece of land just outside Kettering which has sat empty for the past 10 years could start almost immediately if a planning application is approved next month.

A decision on the application by St Francis Group for the Old Cransley Iron Works site was deferred at a planning meeting until March 8.

The original plans allowed for one warehouse totalling 5,000sq ft, with the new plans five times the original.

St Francis Group development director Gareth Williams says the original plans were very much of their time.

He said: “The key here is that the new planning permission, if granted, allows us complete flexibility on the type of occupier we can accommodate.

“This is a condition of the fund financing the project although the park is very likely to accommodate a range of manufacturing, light industrial and logistics occupiers.

“If a limit is placed on any one class of user, we will not be provided with the finance required to build these new units.

“We are proposing to build five highly specified units at Cransley Park to meet unsatisfied demand in the local market.

“Our desire to invest £26m into the local economy is a massive expression of confidence in Kettering and one that if allowed to be delivered will enhance the borough’s efforts to drive forward the local economy.

“If we achieve a satisfactory planning consent, we will build this scheme and build it in a single phase in units from 25,000sq ft to 100,000sq ft ready for occupation by the end of 2016.”

If planning consent is granted, the units would be built immediately even without having secured occupiers.

A number of objections were received prior to February’s planning meeting from neighbours.

Concerns included the amount of pollution and traffic, a high rate of accidents and a loss of countryside.

Cransley Parish Council put forward no objections subject to certain comments, one of which was concerns over the contamination of the site.

Mr Williams told the Northants Telegraph in 2014 that the site had been cleaned up and was ‘no longer a problem site’.

Cllr Jim Hakewill (Con, Slade) said he sees no reasons to change the original plans.

He said: “This is recognised as a key gateway site to the town of Kettering.

“We considered the development here back in 2006 and put a restriction on the amount of warehousing.

“Local people were comforted by that restriction and the fact that there were going to be some attractive-looking offices and a really nicely-designed hotel.

“I do not see any reason for changing those plans or should we just accept another set of sheds because that is the flavour of the month in 2016?

“I would like to see a proper design brief which make everyone proud when they drive past it.”