A former bakery in Wellingborough is set to be redeveloped in a move that business leaders have hailed as the start of an “economic resurgence” for the town.
The UK’s leading regeneration specialist St. Modwen has bought the 3.5 acre Whitworth Bakery site on London Road, opposite the Castlefields Retail Park, and is considering options to develop a scheme which complements nearby businesses.
Rupert Wood, Regional Director for the Northern Home Counties at St. Modwen, said the acquisition was an obvious choice for the firm, which operates throughout the UK and has a strong reputation for transforming disused sites.
He said: “The site’s prominent location on London Road and potential in the Wellingborough market as a whole made this an attractive opportunity for us. We see this as a key strategic purchase as we seek to grow the company’s Northern Home Counties regional office.
“We look forward to working with the Borough Council of Wellingborough and the other key stakeholders as we work towards the submission of our planning application in the new year and the eventual start on site later in 2014.”
Wellingborough Chamber of Commerce president James Wilson believes St. Modwen’s purchase of the site shows the town is emerging out of the recession and “accelerating towards growth”.
It comes as Wellingborough firms are being invited to have a direct say in growth priorities for the area as part of a new campaign badged ‘Enterprising Wellingborough’ launched by the chamber.
Mr Wilson said: “With all of the public money which has gone into Corby, Wellingborough has missed out. However, planned developments, including Wellingborough North and Stanton Cross, the upgrading of the train line into London and the £16m new Tresham campus, mean it’s our turn now.
“Attracting a prestigious developer like St. Modwen to develop a brownfield site on one of the main routes into Wellingborough is also a significant coup – it represents the beginning of an economic resurgence and acceleration towards growth following a period of stagnation.”
Simon Toseland, who is a director of Wellingborough-based commercial property agents Prop-Search and is the agent for the developers, said: “A national company like St. Modwen, with its reputation for regenerating brownfield sites, investing in Wellingborough is a clear sign of confidence in the town.”
The chamber is encouraging firms to participate in research which aims to highlight key development constraints and identify ways to grow the town.
The findings will be used to help bid for a slice of an initial £100 million funding available through the Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership and South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership.
A free-to-attend business breakfast briefing has been organised on 6 December between 7.30am and 9.30am, at 4-6 Regents Court, Park Farm, Wellingborough, to feedback the results from the questionnaire and to highlight the opportunities for businesses if a growth plan is supported. To book a place, visit: www.wellingboroughchamber.co.uk/briefing.
All businesses large and small are invited to complete the survey by visiting: www.wellingboroughchamber.co.uk.