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Don’t demolish Kettering’s Edwardian heritage

The Victorian Society is urging planning officials in Northamptonshire to refuse permission to demolish Northampton House, a substantial and attractive Edwardian office building.

Northampton House was built in 1910 for the local iron ore magnate, James Pain. It occupies a prominent corner site on Station Road, which lies at the junction of four main roads in the heart of Kettering. But the building faces complete demolition if plans submitted to the council are given approval.

The owner wants to replace the historic building with a modern office block, shops and flats.

The application was submitted after the scheme was named as the winning design for the redevelopment of the site in a competition run by Kettering Borough Council.

'Kettering Council has a duty to protect the town's built heritage, and to enforce local and national planning policy. To then choose a winner whose designs run counter to those policies and which involve the needless destruction of a part of the town's history, is disgraceful', said Alex Baldwin, Conservation Adviser for the Victorian Society. 'We are urging the council to refuse consent and to rethink its approach to this landmark site.'

Northampton House is not listed, but it is in a Conservation Area meaning a developer must apply for consent to demolish. Under the rules they have to argue that the replacement building will enhance the appearance of the Conservation Area.

Miss Baldwin added, 'The application states that the owner wants to replace Northampton House 'with a focal landmark building' built of 'high quality traditional materials'. But Northampton House is already a focal landmark building built of high quality traditional materials and the case has not been made for its demolition.'

 

Thursday 21 January, 2010

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