Retail park set to grow as work on site begins

Work has started on new retail units in Northfield Avenue, Kettering
Work has started on new retail units in Northfield Avenue, Kettering

Work has started on transforming an area of wasteland into retail units including a gardening and DIY centre and home furnishing outlet Dunelm Mill.

The land in Northfield Avenue, Kettering, at its junction with Stanier Close, was unused and overgrown until contractor H B Pearce was given planning permission to build on it.

Kettering Council granted permission in 2010, before H B Pearce applied to alter the terms of the agreement after Dunelm Mill agreed to take on one of the units.

The council approved the changes, allowing a wider range of goods to be sold, a mezzanine floor to be built and Dunelm to operate an in-store cafe.

The application’s design and access statement, by architects Mountford Pigott, said: “Development of the site for retail and business uses provides the opportunity to revitalise the site and introduce high-quality buildings.

“Development could therefore significantly enhance the character and appearance of the area.

“Development of the currently vacant site will provide employment opportunities. There will also be indirect jobs created during the construction process and in terms of serving the site.

“The location of the site adjacent to existing retail facilities will provide the opportunity for people to link shopping trips.”

The large wall that bordered the edge of the site that backs on to Northfield Avenue has been torn down and contractors are in the process of levelling the area in preparation for building work to commence.

Simon Barker, of nearby Leicester Close, said: “It looked overgrown before so it’s got to be better to have something there.

“The work is bad at the moment because they start at 7.30am. It sounds like an invasion but I suppose they’ve got to do something with the land.”

The developer will also build 269 car parking spaces, 20 disabled bays and room for bicycles.

In 2007, the company entered a planning application to build houses on the site, but this was turned down by Kettering Council as the area is dominated by commercial and industrial buildings.

An appeal was lodged in 2005 but dismissed by the council the following year.