Northampton town centre mixed-use regeneration faces fresh setback

Plans for a town centre redevelopment in Northampton face a rethink after borough council leaders warned that their preferred partner's latest plans for the site would fall short of expectations.

Greyfriars bus station: demolished in 2015
Greyfriars bus station: demolished in 2015

Carter Endurance, operating as Greyfriars Quarter Developments Ltd, was selected as Northampton Borough Council’s preferred bidder for the Greyfriars scheme in September 2016, following consultation on an initial brief two years ago.

The proposed scheme included student accommodation, retirement apartments, flats, a 110-bed hotel, restaurants, retail kiosks, a gym, a cinema or trampolining facilities, a replacement coach station, improvements to the public realm and new road layouts.

Since then, however, the developer has made significant changes to the proposal and has submitted a revised scheme which, council leaders say, would provide "only partial implementation".

Following counsel’s advice, a report due to be considered by the council’s cabinet next week recommends that members approve an end to the negotiations, on the basis that Carter Endurance has not been able to achieve the original offer.

"The developer has been unable to deliver the proposed scheme but that has provided us with the opportunity to take a fresh look at things," said council leader Jonathan Nunn.

"The world has moved on since our original brief in 2015 and it is perhaps appropriate that we consider all of the options open to us at this time."

The Greyfriars site was formerly occupied by a 1970s brutalist bus station once dubbed the "mouth of hell" by designer and television presenter Kevin McCloud. It was demolished in 2015.

A previous development agreement between the council and investment giant Legal & General, owner of the adjoining Grosvenor Centre, to jointly redevelop the Greyfriars site was terminated in 2014.

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