Work has now begun to remove asbestos from the former Marks & Spencer’s building on Abington Street.
Northampton Borough Council bought the building in September 2020, as part of its ongoing Town Centre Masterplan, coordinated by the Northampton Forward board.
It has sat empty since it was vacated by the retail giant in 2018, with no other proposals put forward for its use.
Northampton was identified as one of 101 locations across the country shortlisted by the Government to apply for the Towns Fund and the removal works will be paid for with forward funding from the Borough Council’s £37.2 million bid.
A tender specification was prepared by the Council, C2S Chartered Surveyors and Ensafe Consultants, leading to the selection of Asbestech Ltd as the removal contractor.
Cllr Tim Hadland, Cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise and Northampton Forward board member, said: “This site is an important catalyst for the long-term regeneration of the town centre, which could clear the way for a new, high-quality development on Abington Street.
“The asbestos removal works represent the first step on our journey to providing more modern commercial units and new homes in the heart of the town centre.
“Our successful bid to the Future High Streets Fund has already resulted in an £8.4 million offer which will enable a revamp of the Market Square, and we are working with Northampton Partnership Homes to create 124 key worker apartments at Greyfriars.
“Increased residential development will bring more people into the town centre in future, revitalising its retail and business offer.”
The Marks & Spencer’s site is included in the Town Investment Plan, which was submitted to the Government as part of the Towns Fund bid – the outcome of the Council’s application will be revealed in the spring.
If this funding is granted, it will pay for the demolition of the building and final development of the site, to create almost 200 residential dwellings, along with ground-floor commercial and leisure units.
The asbestos removal works will be complete by the end of March 2021.