Redevelopment of Moat Lane is gathering pace

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THE redevelopment of the Moat Lane area of Towcester is gathering pace as compulsory purchase orders (CPO) are put in place and tenders are reviewed.

Next month CPOs for Moat Lane will come into force as South Northants and the West Northants Development Corporation reviews bids from developers who want to take on the project.

The project has already seen the restoration of the Bury Mount, the remains of a Norman motte and bailey castle, and the purchase of the Easton Neston estate Watermeadows which is now a public open space.

People objecting CPOs have until Friday, July 8 to challenge the order in the High Court.

Chris Lofts, a member of Towcester Town Council and SNC, is expecting to be briefed alongside fellow district councillors in the first week of July on the outcome of the tendering process prior to a formal discussion.

He said: “I think it’s good things are moving forward. The whole area definitely does want tidying up and it will be interesting to see what the developers are proposing because I think all of the plans so far have been very theoretical. Next month will be the first time we are going to see what can actually be provided down there.

Mr Lofts added: “I think there are one or two concerns around it because of particular parts of the county council funding crisis. They are currently reviewing things like library services and there is a worry that perhaps what was originally planned to go into the civic building, the longer we wait, the greater chance there will be of something going wrong with the whole development.

“So I think the quicker we decide on what’s going to happen they better. But also we do not want to risk making a mistake which Towcester will have to live with for years to come.”

If successful the project will see; the Mill House converted into a small life-style hotel, new townhouses, cottages and flats, a land mark civic building with a library and registrar, new office buildings, shops and cafés, a light industrial workshop, and a new decked car park.

A spokesman for SNC said: “As part of the procurement process, which is following European legal requirements, we are currently evaluating the responses to the invitation to submit detailed submissions.