Rushden shoe factory development shortlisted for award

The Allen Road development in Rushden
The Allen Road development in Rushden

The redevelopment of a former Rushden shoe factory into 46 new affordable homes has been shortlisted for an industry award.

Allen Road, delivered by Spire Homes (part of Longhurst Group) and developer Westleigh Partnerships, transformed the derelict site that was once home to the Grenson Shoes factory, creating 32 homes for affordable rent and 14 properties for shared ownership.

The £5.94 million development, which was completed in May 2017, has now been shortlisted for best regeneration project award at the 2018 Inside Housing Development awards taking place in November.

Nick Worboys, Longhurst Group’s director of development and sales, said: “We are absolutely delighted to hear that Allen Road has been shortlisted for this award.

“This shortlisting is testament to the strong partnership work between ourselves and Westleigh, who, together, have delivered a fantastic development that provides high-quality, affordable homes in an area that desperately needed them.

“We’re very proud of Allen Road and particularly the fact it has retained the character and heritage of the original factory buildings, so this shortlisting is a resounding endorsement of that work.”

Grenson Shoes was just one of many firms from the footwear industry that played a pivotal role in the growth of Rushden as a town.

However, since the firm moved to a purpose-built modern factory in 2013, its premises in Allen Road laid disused until the Longhurst Group and Westleigh turned the site into new affordable homes in a district where, according to latest available figures, the average house price is eight times the average wage.

While the majority of the former factory site was cleared prior to development, many of the listed factory buildings, some of which were derelict, were retained and incorporated within the development in a design created by Leicester-based multi-disciplinary practice, rg+p.

Ensuring a nod to the site’s past, the development includes a two-storey façade facing onto Cromwell Road, which now forms the frontage of eight new homes.

There is also a single storey building that faces onto Allen Road, which was re-configured to provide a row of bungalows.

Gary Turner, partnerships and investments director for Westleigh, said: “We are thrilled by the news that Allen Road has been recognised among the finest regeneration projects in the country.

“The scheme represents our commitment to redressing the shortage of affordable homes locally and has enabled those most in need of housing to get on the property ladder.

“We would like to thank our partners at Longhurst for working closely with us to make this much-needed development a reality.”

Rob Woolston, director at rg+p, said: “It’s particularly pleasing that Allen Road has been selected as a finalist for such a prestigious national award.

“Its design emphasised the site’s industrial heritage whilst creating a mix of modern new homes; we’re hopeful the residents will soon be able to say that they live in an award-winning home.”

The awards take place on November 29 in London.