Desborough Aldi store withdrawal paves way for housing development

The former Lawrence’s factory site in Desborough could see 40 homes being built
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Potential plans for an Aldi store to use a disused factory site in the centre of Desborough have failed to materialise leaving the way for housing.

Plans for new homes on the former Lawrence’s factory site in Gladstone Street are back on after Aldi ruled out building a store off the B576 Harborough Road.

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The 40-home proposal was put on hold when the discount retailer expressed interest in the derelict site, but now North Northamptonshire Council (NNC), who own it, says proposals are being worked on again.

How the development on the site in Gladstone and Harborough Road might lookHow the development on the site in Gladstone and Harborough Road might look
How the development on the site in Gladstone and Harborough Road might look

Costing about £9.5 million, the project would still retain the old factory building, a move supported by Historic England.

Councillor Matt Binley, NNC executive member for housing, communities and levelling up, said: “Plans for housing were paused whilst the potential for a supermarket on the site were fully explored.

“This has now concluded and the work to develop proposals for a council housing development has recommenced. It is anticipated that a report on the project will be presented to the executive for further approval in the autumn.”

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A report recommending the housing plan, first proposed by the former Kettering Borough Council, is set to be considered in a few months’ time.

The factory building would be converted.The factory building would be converted.
The factory building would be converted.

It is understood some funding for it is in place, including from Government-body Homes England.

The former factory shoe site has been derelict for over 20 years – Tesco abandoned plans to develop it in 2014, before Desborough Community Development Trust (DCDT) won a £10,000 grant to assess options for refurbishing the site as part of a revitalised town centre.

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First look at how derelict Desborough factory site could become council homes

Boot and shoe making had taken place on the site since at least 1883 when Benjamin Riley built a factory.

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The Riley family also built cottages in Harborough Road as housing for workers and managers.

In 1913, Riley sold the original building to footwear manufacturers Bird & Co, converting the two-storey building into a three-storey building by excavating and adding a basement. Bird & Co also added to the building with a single-storey extension.

In the 1960s, the building was refurbished by the then owners R S Lawrence and Co Leather Factors and Sole Cutters.