Discussions over work moving forward on High Street development in Wellingborough

The former Drill Hall in High Street, Wellingborough
The former Drill Hall in High Street, Wellingborough

Discussions have taken place over work progressing on a plot of land earmarked for major re-development in Wellingborough town centre.

Wellingborough Council has been working on proposals for the regeneration of the High Street/Jacksons Lane site for a number of years, but for various reasons including gaining funding and securing key plots of land it has taken time.

We need to get on with this and revitalise our town centre

Cllr Paul Bell

Concerns had also been raised about the possible loss of some buildings on the site, including the Drill Hall and Queen’s Hall.

But the development was back on the agenda at a meeting of the full council last week, with members given four options for the site, from starting completely from scratch to staying with the original proposal.

It was unanimously agreed to go with option B, which is to stay with the original preferred developer Keepmoat, but adjust the proposed scheme to exclude the Drill Hall, Queen’s Hall and car park from the land they will sell to them.

The council can then keep hold of that land with a view to coming up with a leisure or retail development in the area in the future.

The planning application as it stands is for 109 dwellings, but that is yet to be considered by the planning committee.

During the meeting, it was also agreed that deciding on the future of the area including the Drill Hall and Queen’s Hall, plus final negotiations with the developer, will all go back to the council for further discussions before any decisions are made.

Speaking at the meeting before the decision was made, Cllr Paul Bell proposed option B and said: “This will give us some homes, but take out the Queen’s Hall and the Drill Hall.

“When this was first started we always planned for homes on this site.

“It’s not for discussion tonight what type of homes, that’s for the planning committee to determine, but we need to get on with this and revitalise our town centre.

“We’re here to make a decision and this is the best option.”

Cllr Martin Griffiths said: “This has gone on long enough.

“If we go for option B, negotiations with the developer can begin tomorrow.

“It’s long overdue and we can work together to achieve the best results for the people of the borough.”

For more information about the history of the site and previous proposals for it, go to http://www.wellingborough.gov.uk/meetings/meeting/862/council.