Plans moving ahead for Daventry’s regeneration

Cllr Colin Poole at the construction site for the Daventry Hill School off Ashby Road
Cllr Colin Poole at the construction site for the Daventry Hill School off Ashby Road

The regeneration of Daventry is something those who live here have heard about for more than a decade.

Often you hear people saying ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’ and while some of the bigger projects have been delayed, Daventry District Council says they are still pushing on with them.

The plans for the town were laid out more than 10 years ago, before the economic crash and austerity kicked in. Changes in people’s shopping habits, the fact we’re less likely to do big shops in big supermarkets, and the impact of internet shopping changed what retailers are looking for in town centre stores.

And the biggest problem the town faced was the A45 between Daventry and the M1. Running at near capacity, a planning inspector said the town’s plans to build more homes could not be implemented until the link was upgraded. Without those new homes, Daventry did not have enough population to draw in retailers, or money from developers for its other plans, which again impacted on the regeneration.

Now the A45 bypass around Flore, Weedon and Upper Heyford is progressing we have already seen developers taking up the case for the town’s expansion, and there are other projects moving ahead as well...

Retail

The latest image of the proposed retail development for the old outdoor pool site in Daventry

The latest image of the proposed retail development for the old outdoor pool site in Daventry

A key site in the town’s regeneration is the land stretching from the old outdoor pool car park, across Braunston Road and up to Warwick Street.

The current plan is to build a new retail development there, featuring a food-hall style store, other shops, a family restaurant, fast food restaurant, hotel and retirement complex.

In 2014 the site received outline planning permission to build a superstore, petrol station and retail units, but as larger supermarket operators began shelving plans for new stores nationwide, the scheme needed changing, to provide more flexibility.

The proposed changes were first unveiled by Daventry District Council and its development partner Henry Boot Developments Limited (HBDL) last November and since then the scheme has been revised further.

People are now encouraged to take a look at the new development plans and give their views before a planning application is submitted for the scheme later this autumn.

The proposals are available online at www.daventrydevelopment.co.uk.

Daventry Hill School

Construction work on this new school, off Ashby Road, Daventry, is nearing completion.

Operated by the Education Excellence for All Trust, the school caters for children aged four to 18 years with special educational needs and is currently operating on a temporary basis from the neighbouring University Technical College.

External brickwork and the internal fit is currently taking place at the school’s new specialist facilities, built on land provided to the trust by DDC. Contractors are on target to complete the handover of the building on December 23.

Northampton College Daventry Campus

Students are set to move into Northampton College’s brand new state-of-the-art Daventry Campus this autumn as the multi-million pound Badby Road West facility reaches the final stages of construction.

The new building will be home to the college’s new Digital Academy, teaching students software and coding, web development, games design and social media. Facilities will also include industry-standard workshops for motor vehicle engineering, state-of-the-art library facilities, contemporary hairdressing and beauty therapy salons, ICT and Mac suites, teaching space for healthcare and childcare plus dedicated provision for students with learning difficulties and disabilities.

Apprenticeships will enable students to ‘earn while they learn’ and the college will also host Moulton College students at its new campus where there will be facilities for animal care and construction.

Northampton College was awarded a £6.5 million Local Growth Fund by the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) to fund this purpose built campus in Daventry, with DDC also making a significant funding contribution.

Phoenix Youth Centre

Work on transforming this important community facility is continuing ahead of its anticipated reopening in spring 2017.

The building is currently being stripped ahead of its renovation and expansion, with the new-look building set to include an improved gymnastics hall, new toilets and changing areas, improved insulation and more efficient heating and lighting. All the new facilities will also be accessible for people with disabilities to encourage greater community use.

DDC is overseeing and steering the £1.7 million build in partnership with The Phoenix Youth Centre team, while the project also has support from Sport England and developers Landform, who have received planning approval for their Micklewell Park housing development on the northern edge of the town.

Volvo

Work on Volvo’s new £6 million Training and Development Centre is to get underway soon.

Set to open in summer 2017, the replacement building will give a new lease of life to the Prospect Way-based site, which has been delivering technical, commercial and management training to Volvo dealer employees from across the UK since 1980.

On completion, the site – which currently employs 32 people – will be purchased by DDC and leased back to Volvo Car UK.

Hambleside Danelaw

Glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) rooflights are rolling off the production line at Hambleside Danelaw’s Daventry headquarters after work on a 30,000 sq ft extension was completed recently.

The project was carried out in partnership with DDC, which invested £3.178m of capital funding and is leasing the facility to Hambleside Danelaw on a long-term basis.

The completion of the extension cements an already fruitful partnership between DDC and Hambleside: the local authority built the facility in 2007 as part of a project to regenerate the former Middlemarch industrial estate, and leases it to the firm on a 15-year term.

Daventry Development Link Road

Phase Two of work on this scheme is underway, which includes the undergrounding of high voltage overhead electricity cables and diversions of other utilities, as well as major earthworks and the start of preparatory work on the bridges and other structures required along the road’s 3.5 mile route.

Once complete, the road will bypass the A45 through Weedon, Flore and Upper Heyford, relieving traffic congestion in those villages and improving links between Daventry, the M1 and Northampton.

A cornerstone in the future growth of Daventry, the road is being built by contractors for Northamptonshire County Council after DDC agreed to invest more than £20 million from the New Homes Bonus generated from the Church Fields urban extension in north east Daventry, which the road would make possible, and developer contributions including the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).

Councillor Colin Poole, Daventry District Council’s economic, regeneration and employment portfolio holder said: “The significant progress on these projects is testament to the hard work and commitment of all partners to improve Daventry and the local economy and accommodate the future growth of our town.

“When you look at the regeneration of our businesses, our retail offer, our education facilities, the housing growth, you see that Daventry has a very simple message – we have a positive agenda and we’re happy to be going forward with it.

“We often use the strapline that we’re ‘open for business’, well business is actually coming to Daventry in a major way and that is to be welcomed.”