Shops revamp back on cards for town

Plans to redevelop the Newlands Shopping Centre are to be revived
Plans to redevelop the Newlands Shopping Centre are to be revived

An ambitious project to completely redevelop part of a town centre is to be revived.

Plans to redesign The Newlands Phase One, in Kettering, which comprises the bottom end of Gold Street, Lower Street and the area behind the shopping centre’s car park, has never progressed despite the proposal being mooted a number of years ago.

The plan includes redesigning the shops in those areas to make space for bigger units to attract major chainstores.

Leading figures in the town believe the new owner of the Newlands centre, Ellandi, has the financial clout and ambition to make the plan a reality, and Kettering Council, which will work with the company, says the proposal is a number one priority.

Neil Griffin, manager of the Newlands centre, said: “Ellandi bought the centre in September and we have had more work done in those six months than several years beforehand.

“They have said they will look to redevelop the area in the long term and it looks like they will work on a plan instead of leaving it and leaving it.

“They are already talking to retailers.

“If you look at Gold Street, Lower Street, and the car park it looks very dated, and the idea would be to take those shops down and create a bigger space for some major retailers.”

The Newlands redevelopment was initially set to go hand-in-hand with Kettering Council’s plans for Wadcroft, which would transform the area from High Street between Marks & Spencer to the end of Lower Street into new units at least two storeys high.

This, like the Newlands Phase One, which the council half-owns, never got off the ground.

Corby’s town centre was rejuvenated following the construction of Willow Place, but Kettering has not seen redevelopment on that scale.

But Cllr Terry Freer, portfolio holder for regeneration at the council, said: “We’ve now got a partner who is anxious to get going and we can justifiably see some action.

“I think we will see something happen in the next few years and people will get the shops they want to see.

“We would ideally like to develop Wadcroft with phase one, but if there’s an opportunity to just go ahead with phase one in the near future, we’ll do that.

“We’re in the process of speaking to landlords to take up the units in Wadcroft, but it’s been somewhat difficult.”