Plans for new flats in Kettering town centre

The area to be developed is outlined in red.
The area to be developed is outlined in red.

Kettering’s former telephone exchange looks likely to be turned into a new town centre housing development.

The plans for 33 flats in the building at the corner of Lower Street and Trafalgar Road, which have been put forward by Cellical Limited, have been recommended for approval by Kettering council’s planning officers.

The building was built in the 1930s and added to in the 1970s.

The building was built in the 1930s and added to in the 1970s.

A decision on the proposal will be made next Tuesday (June 4).

The development, which will partly sit over the top of the Post Office in Lower Street, is being described as ‘car-free’ and will not have any parking spaces for those who live there.

The first and second floor of the 1930s building will be reconfigured for the housing development and there will be a new third floor added with a mansard-style roof.

The nearby tower block – which was also once used as a telephone exchange has in the past been described as Kettering’s biggest eyesore – will not form part of the development.

The first floor as it is now.

The first floor as it is now.

As the building is in a conservation area the applicant submitted a heritage statement for consideration

It says: “The proposals are considered to result in a relatively polite and comfortable addition to the host building and would be read as a quality form of development consistent with its change of use.”

There will be 13 flats on the first floor – the smallest of which will be 52.7 sqm – a further ten flats on the second floor and another ten on the proposed third floor.

Only six of the 33 units – which will be a mix of one and two bedrooms – will have private amenity space.

The homes will be built above the post office in Lower Street.

The homes will be built above the post office in Lower Street.

The report says: “Whilst the proposal would not provide private space for the majority of the flats it is unlikely that the proposed units would attract families but would instead be aimed at professionals that would not necessarily require outside space. “

The lower ground and the ground floors will remain in use by the post office and the regional sorting office. Part of the building was added in the 1970s and it has been twenty years since the building was used as a telephone exchange.

Royal Mail had put in an initial objection to the development on the grounds there could be a potential conflict of interest with residents’ windows looking over the delivery yard, but this objection has been withdrawn on the condition that noise mitigation measures are imposed.

The Highways authority also does not support the application and has made observations including that the proposed new lift is too small to fit in bicycles and the cycle parking is unacceptable.

The planning meeting takes place on June 4th at 6.30pm.