Planning proposal for mixed-use regeneration of Weedon Royal Ordnance Depot

A 3D image of the proposed plans. Photo: Paul Vick Architects
A 3D image of the proposed plans. Photo: Paul Vick Architects

Plans to redevelop Weedon's historic Royal Ordnance Depot are expected to be submitted to Daventry District Council in the coming weeks.

Included in the £24million plans are low-energy homes, apartments, retail units and an 80-room care home which will link to several 'close care' apartments where elderly or disabled can live independently with care resources nearby.

A 40-room hotel could replace a burnt down building on the site, the former Wagon Shed.

The Royal Ordnance Depot has seen a growth in interest in recent yeas with tenants occupying its retail units rising from five to 75 last year.

Part of the challenge for award-winning architect Paul Vick in designing the new builds which will surround the eight existing Grade II* listed former military depots, is ensuring they match and respect the structures currently in place.

"Policy is very clear that you have to respect the historic buildings and one of those policies is to not be dominant," said Mr Vick.

"So one of those large eight buildings down the middle should remain dominant; they can be seen across the valley for instance.

"The presence of the site is quite clear inside and outside its enclosure, so that presence has to be retained."

One example of this is the design of single storey independent living houses, which have to sit below the height of the 14.5 feet high perimeter walls as well as the height of the main buildings.

Given the fact the whole of the site has listed status, the walls themselves cannot be ignored.

"You have to make sure the outside wall is safe and repaired so that’s great, and that will allow people to enjoy those structures again rather than being at risk," said Mr Vick.

"It’s a difficult site because listed buildings have quite a lot of constraints and significance.

"It’s now got housing around it so how do you respect that, work with that. It’s a mixed use scheme and we’ve been working really hard to make all these complimentary things, and get the dots to join up and work together in a real meaningful way.

"It will bring it back to life, that’s the intent."

The redevelopment plans follow the announcement in February this year of the site's receipt of a Lottery grant which have supported the creation of a visitor centre on the site, which dates back to the Napoleonic wars.

Mr Vick said the plans were in keeping with local needs, boosting their chances of approval, and was keen to work with policy to provide the area with what is needed.

"The draft local plans for the area identifies the need for housing, it identifies an ageing population with the need for care homes so we’ve been carefully putting this together to see how this can meet local needs, and at the same time bringing the site back to life," he said.

"Planning is there for many reasons - to control development, to get the right sort of development for the area - and planning policy includes all these sorts of statistics.

"Our approach is to work with policy and work with what they’ve found and the direction they’d like to go because we know that is what’s wanted."