Go-ahead for Daventry retail scheme despite heritage concerns

Plans for a retail-led mixed-use scheme including a cinema and library in Daventry town centre have been approved despite a recommendation of refusal from heritage quango English Heritage.

Daventry: retail plans approved
Daventry: retail plans approved

Daventry District Council approved the full plans last week. The application includes plans for the construction of 17 units totalling 13,679 square metres of new non-food retail floorspace, restaurants, cafes, cinema (2,192 square metres), and the replacement of an existing library on the site.

The committee also gave the go-ahead for a new supermarket, petrol station and additional retail units with parking on a separate site.

The applications for the two developments were submitted by the council’s development partner, Henry Boot Developments, following public consultation held last year.

Responding to the consultation, English Heritage said that the scheme "would cause substantial harm to the character and appearance of the conservation area, and to the settings of a number of adjacent listed buildings due to layout, scale, and design. It would obscure the topography of the town which is such a feature of its character, while introducing a new urban environment dramatically at odds with the nearby historic townscape".

But a planning report considered by the council’s planning committee said that any harm to the conservation area would not be "considerable".

"The development represents a well considered design creating better spaces for people. The scheme incorporates crime prevention measures. With regard to local character and history the scale of the scheme has been designed to preserve important views including those of significant listed buildings such as Holy Cross Church. Appropriate sympathetic materials have been chosen where the development adjoins the high street", the report said.

The report also said the sites had been identified as a suitable location for a mixed-use development in local planning policies and new retail offer would complement that already in the town centre.

"Major retailers require large format ‘footplates’. These units are not currently available in the town centre. The proposals will provide this type of unit. The proposed cinema and restaurants will retain visitors into the evening which is an element largely missing at present. In the longer term the town will gain recognition and become established as an attractive place to shop".

Chris Over, Daventry District Council’s economic, regeneration and employment portfolio holder, said: "It is good news that, after careful consideration by the planning committee, these two developments now have the consent they need to move forward.

"They will provide the local community with a modern new library and enhance the town’s retail and leisure offer with a new shopping centre, cinema and supermarket, strengthening the existing amenities and businesses by helping to attract further investment into Daventry."

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