Council urgently assessing next steps over Kettering apartment block's unlawful extra floor
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Council chiefs say they are urgently assessing their next steps as a Kettering apartment block’s unlawful extra floor remains in place.
Job’s Yard was cordoned off in June and a section between Silver Street and Meeting Lane is still closed because of serious concerns about building work taking place.
A fifth storey which was constructed without planning permission was ordered to be removed by a planning inspector after developer Michigan Construction Ltd’s appeal failed.
But despite an August deadline no works to reduce the building to its previously-approved four storey height appear to have taken place.
Cllr David Brackenbury, North Northamptonshire Council’s (NNC) executive member for growth and regeneration, said: “We have been liaising with the developer of this site in Job’s Yard, Kettering, over recent months because of serious concerns about the building work taking place and lack of adherence to planning regulations. The development has been subject to enforcement action under building regulations. This requires that the developer rectifies, or puts forward a plan to rectify, building defects identified under the building regulations without delay.
“We have restricted public access in the immediate vicinity of the building to make sure the area is made safe. We have also escalated the matter to the Health and Safety Executive, which has visited the site and prohibited any further work taking place.
“We are continuing to closely monitor the site and are liaising regularly with the Health and Safety Executive. We are urgently assessing the next steps and we wish to resolve the issue as quickly as we can.”
The constantly-changing plan to build apartments next to the Prince of Wales pub dates back to 2008 when a bid for shopping units and six flats was approved by the now-defunct Kettering Borough Council (KBC). After planning permission lapsed, a new application for one shop and seven flats went in and was approved in 2012. In 2015 an application to change to the site to 14 flats was refused by KBC. Work to build one shop and seven apartments began in 2018 with the Kettering firm applying for restrospective permission which then lapsed.
More plans followed with a bid for 14 apartments and then 10 refused in 2019. Later that year a bid for three shops and seven flats was retrospectively approved, with a bid for nine apartments refused four months later. That decision was overturned after an appeal to the Government’s Planning Inspector in January 2021, which granted permission for nine apartments. New plans increased the height of the building to four storeys.
But since the decision to overturn the refused plans, the Kettering-based construction company began adding an extra fifth storey with planning permission reliant on an appeal. An attic space was also later constructed on a sixth.
Two temporary stop notices were issued by NNC, which replaced KBC, with one in August 2021 ordering the firm to cease all activity associated with the building of a five-storey block as the fifth floor was being constructed unlawfully.
Michigan Construction Ltd again appealed to the Planning Inspectorate and while the company’s owner Marcus Fielding awaited the decision, construction continued for a further nine months with the risk that any building above the fourth storey could be ordered to be demolished.
And after a planning inspector visited the site he dismissed the appeal and ordered the fifth storey to be permanently removed.
The Health and Safety Executive and and Michigan Construction owner Marcus Fielding have been contacted for comment but are yet to respond.