South Northamptonshire Council (SNC) has today confirmed that it has completed the purchase of the long-empty Co-op store and car park in central Towcester, from the Co-op, after lengthy negotiations.
Published: Monday, 13th July 2020
SNC has invested close to £1 million in the purchase, which will benefit Towcester businesses and the residents of South Northamptonshire.
Councillor Ian McCord, Leader of South Northamptonshire Council, said: “Shoppers and visitors have long used this free car parking, and it has helped keep Towcester’s high street alive as a vibrant shopping destination, alongside our other free car parks in Richmond Road and Northampton Road.
“We are delighted to have bought the site, including the empty building, from the Co-op, so as to preserve this short-stay free car parking.
“At a time when shops and restaurants are beginning to reopen after the Coronavirus, we hope this practical, solid support from their local council will be seen as a vote of confidence by our retail and hospitality businesses.”
The money used to fund the purchase came from an innovative deal the council did several years ago when it sold land around its former headquarters building on the edge of Towcester for housing and made a deal to receive a share of excess profits above the predicted value at the time.
Now those houses are sold, and the council received a share of the profit, that money had to be spent for the wider benefit of the Towcester area, and so the purchase of the Co-op site was deemed a perfect fit both as a long-term asset, and for the foreseeable future to continue to provide free parking.
The Council will determine the future of the disused and derelict building in due course, with one obvious option being to demolish it, and at least temporarily increase the number of parking spaces available.