Compulsory purchase orders have been passed by Daventry District Council for sections of the sites designated for the new town centre retail units and cinema.
The orders had to be made by the council after investigations found several small patches of land – on both the library car park on Primrose Hill and on the site stretching from the old Danetre Garage site on Warwick Street to the outdoor pool car park – where the current legal owner could not be identified.
The passing of the orders is a key step towards work finally getting going on the project.
Cllr Chris Over, DDC’s regeneration, economic and employment portfolio holder, said: “This is a necessary step for the council.
“No doubt it will have some people delving into their archives to find a patch of land they can hold us to ransom over, but it is a prudent step for the council to take. I believe it also includes measures in case an ownership issue is identified in future as well.”
The scheme involves bulldozing the town’s current library and the High Street unit occupied by Argos, and building a new shopping area and multiscreen cinema.
A replacement library will be built on the Chapel Lane car park.
The plans also involve completely redesigning the Braunston Road/Ashby Road/Eastern Way junction to remove the roundabout and create space for a new supermarket, petrol station and another retail unit.
Plans for the new shops were given outright approval in November 2013.
But the supermarket site, being relatively flat, is the ‘money making’ part of the scheme and effectively subsidises the development on the library car park for the developer Henry Boot.
That site was only given outline permission in 2013 as no supermarket chain had signed on the dotted line and they all have their own building styles. DDC is still waiting for a supermarket to officially sign up to take the unit, and until one does the whole scheme is on hold.
Cllr Over said: “You might say the current economic situation with supermarkets has thrown up some difficulties, but it is my understanding Daventry is on the cusp of signing someone up. But like all things we are somewhat at the whim of market forces.”