Borough Council of Wellingborough

Future of council owned property under discussion

Published Monday, 03 July 2017

The future of a number of buildings and car parks owned by the Borough Council of Wellingborough was discussed at the recent resources committee.

Croyland Hall and Abbey, the Tithe Barn, Swanspool House and Swanspool Pavilion were on the agenda, along with car parks at Doddington Road, Winstanley Road and the Swansgate multi-storey.

Croyland Hall and Abbey were previously used as council offices but have sat empty since 2011, when staff moved out of the buildings.  At the meeting, councillors discussed the viability of their planned conversion into council owned rental flats. It was agreed to progress this option, but costings need to be reviewed before development is started.

It was agreed in principle that the Tithe Barn and its annexe be converted into a café and function room for lease. Officers will seek appropriate planning permissions and produce a report on viability. This report will include views from interested commercial parties about how the building should operate and what facilities may be needed.

Finally, a feasibility study and options appraisal for the regeneration of Swanspool House and Pavilion site will be prepared and presented to the committee later this year.

Planning permission will be sought for a residential development on the Doddington Road car park and a business plan produced to help to determine whether the site should be sold to a developer or developed by the council.

A parking study will assess the current need and use of car parks 7 and 8 in Winstanley Road, before councillors decide whether or not to seek planning permission for their residential development.

Car park 9 in Knox Road will be sold for housing development, to make the existing adjacent development site more viable. This will improve the area and provide more housing; parking will be available in the larger carpark opposite the site.

There are concerns around the condition of the Swansgate multi storey carpark, so officers have commissioned expert advice on how improvements can be made and a further report will be submitted once the advice is completed.
A council spokesperson said: “There is a need to maximise returns from property and land, reduce current running and maintenance costs, and provide additional housing within the borough.

“One of the greatest risks in respect of many of these properties is inaction. A number of the buildings are listed and some are empty. The council has a duty to maintain and repair its own listed buildings, so they are costing the council money with no financial return.

“Bringing them back into service and providing housing or improvements to the town centre will be of longer term benefit.”