Plan for £100m redevelopment of Corby is scrapped

By Martin Borley
BBC Northampton

image captionThe Evolution redevelopment included a new department store

A plan for a £100m redevelopment of a large part of Corby town centre has been abandoned.

The town centre owner, Land Securities, had been granted outline planning permission for the scheme, branded Evolution.

Tom Venner, portfolio manager for retail at Land Securities, said the economic slowdown had forced the issue.

"Evolution was designed several years ago and our objectives for the town have changed," he said.

Evolution was seen as phase two of Willow Place, the town's successful new shopping development which opened in October 2007.

The town's Crown House office block, the former bus station site, the existing multi-storey car park - extending out to Westcott Way and Elizabeth Street - were all to have been incorporated in the redevelopment.

Mr Venner added: "Building large scale schemes is very difficult. As a company, we are investing in development only in very very selective circumstances where demand massively outweighs supply."

The company said investment would continue in Corby but would be based on commercial demand.

A priority for the company is to improve the appearance of Corporation Street, New Post Office Square and the Oasis Retail Park.

A feasibility study looking at further investment in Corby is due to be completed before the end of 2010.

Multiplex cinema

Corby Borough Council is now trying to continue the regeneration of the town centre itself.

The authority's chief executive Chris Mallender said: "The borough council hasn't given up its ambition.

"We certainly want to develop something as close as possible to Evolution."

The council owns land near the new swimming pool and Corby Cube - a six-storey concrete and glass building which includes a theatre and library.

Mr Mallender said a planning application for a multiplex cinema was expected to be submitted soon.

"We expect to have plans - with or without Land Securities - in for consideration by the autumn," he said.

There are also plans for a multi-storey car park.

It would be paid for by the sale of Council-owned land to housing developers. The local authority expects to complete some "big land deals" before the end of 2010.

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