Whilst over the past few years Daventry’s landscape has changed with the construction of vast distribution hubs to satisfy the continued boom in e-commerce, the town centre itself has remained unchanged despite a continued promise of inward investment to deliver a new retail core.
However, Daventry District Council and its development partner Henry Boot Developments have unveiled revised plans for a new retail development to the north-west of the town centre, on a 13 acre site which formerly accommodated the old open air swimming pool and gas works. The proposed development – commonly referred to as Site 5 – would secure a long overdue redevelopment, identified within policy guidance as a site suitable for large format retail development.
In 2014 the site, taking in land at Braunston Road, Chaucer Way and Eastern Way, received outline planning permission to build a superstore, petrol station and retail units. That same year planning permission was granted for the construction of non-food retail floor space, restaurants and cafes, a new cinema complex, a replacement library and associated works – known as Site 1 – on the opposite side of Eastern Way at land to the north of High Street. This permission has not yet been implemented.
For a number of years the developers sought to both deliver new retail developments on both Sites 1 and 5 to enhance the retail and leisure offer of the town.
A hybrid planning application has now been submitted for a mixed-use retail and leisure development on Site 5 which is believed to provide an attractive mix for shoppers both locally and from further afield. Permission is being sought in full for the construction of up to 90,300 sq ft of A1 retail floor space, which includes the provision of up to 36,000 sq ft for convenience stores. The wider proposals seeking outline consent include for 7,425 sq ft of restaurant accommodation, a family restaurant/public house and 60 bedroom hotel. Associated parking will be provided for 487 vehicles
On a separate planning application, McCarthy and Stone propose to build a retirement housing complex to the south of the site where the former Danetre Vauxhall garage and Brass Band hall have been demolished.
Work has also started on a new £4.3 million training and development centre for Volvo Car UK, set to open in the summer. The new 30,400 sq ft centre – featuring remote video and web-based technologies – will replace the existing training facility on Prospect Way, which has been delivering technical, commercial and management training to Volvo dealer employees since 1980. And on completion, the site – which currently employs 32 people – will be purchased by Daventry District Council and leased back to Volvo Car UK.
Despite developers generally embarking on more cautious and mature speculative programmes of construction, retailers continue to drive demand for space in core locations. The trend is now very marked for them to either open new fulfilment centres or to consolidate existing distribution facilities into larger centres to increase productivity.
In Daventry, Amazon has acquired a 297,111 sq ft facility at Daventry Distribution Centre – an integral part of IDI Gazeley’s rolling speculative build program. The unit is situated on the Royal Oak Industrial Estate and has been designed with a frame grid that can support both wide and narrow aisle racking configurations, mezzanines and other materials handling equipment; and has been optimised for maximum efficiency with regards to gradients, drainage, security, trailer parking and docking. The building has a combination of dock and level entry, and access doors are positioned to optimise the space between goods, vehicles and yard manoeuvrability to offer occupiers optimal operational flexibility.
As Daventry becomes a key location in the heart of the UK logistics gold triangle – 10 miles from the A1, 15 miles from the M6 and close to the Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal – completion of the Daventry Development Link Road is an important cornerstone in the future growth of the town. The £32 million link road, scheduled for completion in Spring 2018, will form a 3.5-mile long single carriageway aimed at improving transport links between Northampton and Daventry, and improving access between Daventry and the M1 motorway. Whilst initially being constructed as a single-carriageway, its design could support dualling in the future.