Housing plan for Kettering shop site destroyed by devastating fire

The site has sat empty since it was demolished two years ago

Friday, 6th August 2021, 7:30 am
The aftermath of the fire (picture by Terry Harris) and, inset, an artist's impression of how the site could look.

The empty site of a former Kettering shop which was destroyed by a devastating fire could be redeveloped to house adults with mental health conditions.

It's been more than two years since Kettering Bedding Centre in Regent Street went up in flames in May 2019, causing roads to be closed and families to be evacuated as smoke billowed across the town.

The fire-ravaged three-storey listed building, which had been home to the bedding firm since the late 1960s, was later demolished over safety fears and the gutted site has sat empty ever since.

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The fire raged through the building.

Now plans have been outlined to fill the gap left in the red-bricked Victorian terraced street - by redeveloping the site and creating supported living flats.

Vantage Homes want to build 14 dwellings - seven one-bed and seven two-bed - referencing the characteristics of the old building which was also formerly home to the Regents Works.

A planning statement said: "The scheme will provide much-needed self-contained accommodation for adults with neurological and mental health conditions in Kettering, helping them to live as independently as possible within the local community."

Under the plans those living there would have 24-hour on-site support with a long-lease arrangement in place with a registered care provider.

An artist's impression of the site.

A planning statement added: "The proposed accommodation will provide high quality apartments for adults to enable them to lead as independent a life as possible. Due to their disabilities they may however find themselves unable to do so without a certain amount of support, which will vary according to each individual’s needs.

"This may include, for example, help with shopping, paying bills, cooking, organising education courses and travelling. As such, staff are available on-site on a 24-hour basis to provide whatever support is needed.

"The overall aim of this approach is to increase residents' independence over time, reducing the support needed and enabling them to move to more independent accommodation."

If approved the flats would range in size between 50 sq m and 62 sq m. Plans say there would be a total of 12 car parking spaces and 20 cycle spaces.

Demolition work after the fire.

When the fire took hold of the building after starting in the roof a number of families were forced into temporary accommodation, with some not returning home for several weeks.

A huge community response saw vast amounts of clothes and essential items donated to those affected by the blaze.

At the time Kettering Council issued a warning that the bedding centre building may have had materials containing asbestos inside.

A section of Regent Street also remained closed for some time for safety reasons. Fire investigators later ruled out arson as the cause.

Two roads closed and residents evacuated following fire at Kettering Bedding Centre building., Regent Street, Kettering Monday 13 May 2019. Picture by Terry Harris.

Kettering Bedding Centre director Anthony Caswell-Jones was at the site at the time and told the Northants Telegraph of the dramatic moment he escaped the burning building.

They promised to bounce back and have since opened a new shop in Newland Street.

An artist's impression of the rear of the site
The road was closed for some time because of safety fears.
Smoke billowed across the town.