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

A planning application will be submitted later this year

Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 8:00 am
A proposal of how the site could eventually look.

A bid to turn Desborough's derelict former Lawrence s factory site into council houses is set to be submitted later this year.

The site of the Harborough Road factory, which has been empty since it closed in the 1990s, could be turned into as many as 43 homes.

North Northamptonshire Council are proposing to retain the buildings and convert them into accommodation, a move supported by Historic England.

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Desborough's derelict Lawrence's site.

The development, which it appears would be accessed by New Street and would see homes ranging from one-bed to five-beds, would cost between £8.9m and £9.5m.

Because of this some external funding would be required for the scheme and, after 'positive' discussions with Homes England, a bid is due to be submitted this month.

A project design consultation says it's hoped that a planning application will be submitted by June with construction potentially starting in June 2022 and the scheme potentially being completed by December 2023.

The site, which was bought by the now-abolished Kettering Council in 2004, has been controversial for many years.

How the site could eventually look.

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.

Their report suggested the factory building itself - and not the whole site - could be converted to a small workspace for small businesses, a museum/heritage centre, cafes and shops or a community space for hire.

In 2018 plans to develop the site suffered another setback when Kettering Council could no longer access funds it was banking on.

The Lawrence’s factory originally opened in about 1830 as part of the silk clothing industry.

It converted to shoe manufacturing in the 1860s as silk went out of fashion.