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Job's Yard development of nine apartments

24th August 2021 Northants Telegraph by Alison Bagley

“A temporary stop notice was issued to a construction company after it breached planning permission and began adding an extra floor to a Kettering apartment block. Michigan Construction Ltd had been granted planning permission to develop the site next to the Prince of Wales public house in Job's Yard, managing to secure approval for a four-storey building for nine flats. But builders started work to add a fifth floor - in a clear breach of the approval planning - leading to the stop notice being issued earlier this month.
Michigan Construction Ltd has a base in Robinson Way, on the Telford Way Industrial Estate, Kettering, but the company office is registered in Towcester and is owned by a Marcus Fielding.
The notice states that the builder is: "To cease all the activity - construction activity associated with the building of a five-storey block of flats - other than limited work required to make this site safe," adding the reason for the notice being issued as "A fifth floor is being constructed unlawfully following the grant of planning permission under KT/2019/0908 which was for four storeys only."
Attached to the safety barriers in front of the building site, the notice had been signed on behalf of the executive director of place and economy for North Northants Council, George Chandler. The notice that took effect on August 2nd, 2021, will expire on Monday, August 30, 2021.

Planning permission for the Job's Yard development of nine apartments - six one-bedroom and three two-bedroom - had been granted after an appeal to the Government's Planning Inspectorate on January 26, 2021, overturning a decision made by the then Kettering Borough Council.

The planning permission appeal was granted for a four-storey apartment block with a stepped profile to set the upper storeys further from the adjacent buildings.
Concerns had been made previously by Kettering Civic Society on behalf of the Toller Church that the flats - to be built with no car parking spaces - in the Kettering Conservation Area would add traffic down the narrow Meeting Lane, and affect neighbours by blocking out light and affecting their privacy.

Despite objections, the Planning Inspectorate granted the appeal saying: "I find that the appeal proposal [the flats] would not harm the character and appearance of the area, including the setting of the Kettering Conservation Area, with particular regard to scale, mass and design.

"Furthermore, the appeal proposal would not impose any greater harm to the living conditions of neighbouring residential properties than the fall-back position that would be unacceptable. Consequently, there would be no conflicts with the development plan in these regards. There are no other matters before me that would indicate that the appeal should not succeed." Concluding: "For the reasons given, the appeal should be allowed, subject to the specified conditions."

In its response to the four-storey application, refused by Kettering Council's planning committee, Northants Fire and Rescue had voiced concerns as to the height of the building and the access route in an emergency.

It said: "The lane appears to be too narrow for a fire appliance and the top floor flat is outside of the 45m hose length - given that closest parking area is outside of Prince of Wales at best if no cars there."
Michigan Construction Ltd had already breached planning rules when work started illegally in 2018 on what was to be a retail unit and seven apartments in a three-storey building on the brownfield site after planning permission had lapsed.

An original planning application in 2008 for four shopping units and six one-bedroom flats was approved. In 2012 the same application was approved again with changes to the number of retail units - now one shop and seven apartments.

In 2015, however, a change to the planning was refused when an application for 14 flats was asked for. Limited works had been undertaken on the site and subsequently Michigan Construction Ltd was advised to submit a fresh application for the site.

In the intervening period two alternative, and larger, applications were been submitted for the site and refused due to their scale and design which, it was feared, would result in overdevelopment of the site and overbearing impacts on surrounding development.

The company applied for retrospective planning permission. Due to time constraints the developer could not resolve all conditions that had been placed by the planning committee and an application to discharge conditions was refused on December 5, 2018, and therefore the permission lapsed.

When the developer restarted construction, it applied for retrospective planning permission. At the meeting to decide the retrospective planning permission it was concluded that if the application was refused the Local Planning Authority 'would be obliged to take enforcement action' and that the planning had previously been 'acceptable'.

Adding that even though the start of building on the site was 'unlawful' and were not 'condoned', 'the applicant has been shown to be keen to regularise the situation'.
Concluding that "whilst the previous application (KET/2015/0580) has lapsed, this submission is the same as the previous approval and there have not been notable changes in planning policy since the previous approval that give rise to a different recommendation on the application compared to the council’s previous decision."

On 6th September we wrote to Philip Hollobone MP

The original development was started by Mr Badiani from Leicester. That approved scheme’s Approval expired and the site was put on the market.
The new owners applied to build a larger/taller property which was residential. The Civic Society was of the opinion that when built, would be out of context regarding size as well as its historic setting. Originally, cottages had been built in Meeting Lane and were a comfortable part of that area of the town with the imposing Toller Meeting House in the background; apart from this important building, all that remains of that character is the Prince of Wales Public House.

The Plans for the new Developers scheme, whilst prepared by good local architects, were refused Planning Approval and an Appeal was successfully carried out. (The Fire Brigade was very critical and considered fire engine access would have been difficult.) This decision amazed the Civic Society. Building then started and as of today, is five stories high. (Please see the attached photographs which have been taken from both angles of Meeting Lane.) Building Control now stopped the construction for a range of reasons. It is amazingly unbelievable that the Planning Inspectorate granted Approval- with no sensitive consideration of the surrounding buildings and their important history. The Civic Society urge you to challenge the Secretary of State!

The Civic Society ask that a Parliamentary decision should be sought to have the building reduced to half its present new height (the quality of the workmanship is very poor) and finished to sit comfortably with adjacent new flats to allow residents there to experience daylight.

Thank you Monica very much indeed for your e-mail and for being kind enough to take the time and trouble to let me know of the Civic Society’s understandable concerns, which I share. I attach the appeal decision. Like the Civic Society I am bitterly disappointed by it, but the Civic Society will know that it is not possible to appeal against an appeal and have the decision reversed. As I understand it, the situation now is that the development is being built in excess of the permission granted by the appeal. North Northamptonshire Council (NNC) has started enforcement proceedings against the developers.

We received the following reply. “As responsibility for local planning enforcement rests with NNC, I think the best way to advance the Civic Society’s understandable concerns would be for you to contact the three local councillors who represent the town centre. They would be able to represent your concerns about the enforcement to the officials responsible and escalate your concerns to the portfolio holder (councillor) responsible for the NNC planning department. They should be able to arrange a meeting for the Civic Society with the relevant portfolio holder and officials if you felt that would be useful.”

We will continue to pursue this case.

102 Northampton Road, Kettering
St Thomas More Primary School

The following letter has been sent to the Kettering Borough Council

25th January 2018

Dear Sir/Madam,


APPLICANT: The Diocese of Northampton, Mr D Wilson
LOCATION: St Thomas More Primary School, 102 Northampton Road, Kettering PROPOSAL: Determination - Demolition: Demolition of building to front

Kettering Civic Society is objecting to the proposal to demolish this building which is structurally sound on the grounds that it is part of a 'suite' of buildings of great architectural value with a social history and therefore of importance to the town.
Bryn Hafod the former home of Charles Wicksteed and then home to the Sisters of Our Lady, and Middlewest former Our Lady's Primary School in Hall Lane are listed buildings. The building which belongs to the Diocese of Northampton is part of St Thomas More School (previously Our Lady's Convent Senior School is related to the buildings in Hall Lane). The architecture of 102 Northampton Road has the same features as Middlewest. The Society would urge for the building to be sold; (possibly the whole area for redevelopment and for the school to relocate to a more suitable site) that a new use be found; for it to be restored to the same high quality as Middlewest thus echoing further the restoration that took place with Elm Bank which is on the opposite side of the road.
A Heritage Report was carried out (Please see part of this report enclosed-the whole report including photos can be emailed to you) on the buildings along Hall Lane and 102 Northampton Road is included in this report. Bastion Build have been carrying out an excellent restoration project of the buildings along Hall Lane.
In summary this building has its own sense of place and to remove it to park a few cars would be a loss and detrimental to the town.

Yours faithfully,

Click here for the full report



A pair of the towns older shops in Newland Street with a long history stood empty for a considerable time. They had recently been a jewellers and the Button Boutique. Plans have been prepared for re-developing the site to include 32 flats and two shop units. Whilst it was encouraging to see the building have a new life through re-development, the new design unfortunately would have caused over development and a revised design for 28 flats was submitted for Planning Approval. The old building has been sold but we strongly object to the new proposal as we do to the adjacent Planning Application for flats overlooking Eden Street.

By contrast, the re-alignment of the Bowling Green Road, Headlands and Northampton Road junction which initially caused concerns is now becoming accepted. The actual quality of the construction work is of high quality and continues the improvement which the roundabouts at the bottom of Northampton Road have made.

It was sad to see that a Planning Application was made to demolish the Primitive Methodist Church in Bath Road now occupied by Timson Engineering. Since the church use ended some fifty years ago, the building has begun to decay. Many ideas for its re-use other than a car park have come forward but finding the considerable funds needed to buy, restore and re-model it have not been possible to find.
The same concerns apply to the Royal Hotel which is now being boarded up. We have suggested that it could become a regional base for organisations such as English Heritage and National Trust being placed neatly in this historic part of our county. Sadly, it requires a large financial input to restore what was once a very fine Hotel but now disused.

6 Station Road

Letter to Council

David Cook Esq.
Chief Executive
Kettering Borough Council
Council Offices
Bowling Green Road
Kettering NN 15 7QX

29th October 2014

Dear Mr Cook


At the Executive Meeting held on 15th October, Item 15 on the evening’s agenda was the possible future of 6 Station Road. The Committee Report outlined the recent history of the building following its vacation in 2005 by Kettering Centre for the Unemployed with the closure of its Learning Centre there. (The Centre had made a valuable contribution to the community in its time). Bee Bee Developments had a lease but the company ceased trading and are in liquidation and did no work on the site. The building having stood empty for some nine years was now the Committee’s opportunity to consider its future.

The Report suggested four options which were;
a) to sell the building as it is
b) to refurbish and let it
c) demolish the building and re-develop the site either as Offices or Mixed Use
d) simply continue to market the building ‘to let’.

Some offers had been made to buy it and the best offer was £250,000.00.

Barnes Noble Edwards had secured tenders to refurbish the building at a cost of at least £300,000.00 before letting it.

A selection of new-build schemes could be prepared by consultants. The possibility of re-developing the site was considered with an estimated cost including demolition and re-building would be around £1.3 million with an additional loan cost of around 8% per annum. Some costs might be offset by a section 106 Agreement Contribution.

Simply holding the present building and renting it out is an option, but with no interest shown so far to do this despite Barnes Noble Edwards efforts to let it, asks the question “is this a wise option?” This possibility is a gamble based upon speculative changes in the future market.

Option ‘b’ is of course a possibility, and if refurbished by the Council, might secure greater interest than has been shown so far.

Option ‘c’ is interesting and could fit neatly into the Local Plan Planning Policy for Station Road, this being Office/Commercial. However, buildings built further down Station Road for this purpose could not sustain and eventually were converted to Residential use.
No doubt Planning Committee could approve a Residential change on this site but with interest alone each year being around £104,000.00, on a building loan this would be an enormous commitment for the Council even without considering repaying the loan.

The Civic Society has been following events on the site and in the neighbouring area and have been particularly impressed by the ongoing refurbishment of Northampton House and also Ferndale nearby in the Headlands.

It was following the decision not to demolish Northampton House which gave the town a great deal of comfort. Whilst the building could not be ‘Listed’, its historic importance has protected it to the town’s satisfaction. Now its refurbishment, which appears to be to a very high standard, retains the building firmly on the towns map.

Not far away, the oldest property in the Headlands is also being returned to its original use as a private dwelling and again, the quality of the work appears to be excellent. This supports the object of the Headlands being in the Conservation Area.

It was against this background that it became known to the Civic Society that a family member associated with these two properties had made an offer of a quarter of a million pounds for 6 Station Road’s freehold. This appeared exciting in that the offer was made with the intention of refurbishing the building for it to become a specialist Dental Clinic. Were this to be in keeping with work done to the other buildings mentioned, the Conservation feel in the area would be further enhanced and at no cost to the Council.

The Civic Society request that the Executive Committee further review the options presented at their last meeting and in the town’s interest give serious consideration to the sale of
6 Station Road for conversion to a Dentistry.



News update: June 2014


Kettering Civic Society has been monitoring Northampton House which unfortunately couldn’t be listed and had stood empty for some time. The Society is very pleased with the excellent progress Averil Phillips & family are making in its restoration for their business.


Following the closure of Ferndale the County Council Care Home, the property had been unused for several years. Ferndale was the first house to be built in Headlands and an excellent job is being made of its restoration following the part demolition of the care home to become a private residence. We watch with much interest at its progress.

BRYN HAFOD in Hall Lane - formerly Our Lady’s Convent and School.

Kettering Borough Council served and enforcement on the property and the original developers are no longer involved. Now there are new developers and their progress is being monitored by Kettering Civic Society. There are many concerns from local residents which we take into account. The Society looked at the original Plans and KBC Peter Chaplin, the case officer will be giving us an update on the Listed House.



The House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee has published the report of its inquiry into the National Planning Policy Framework. It quotes Civic Voice eight times (as many as the National Trust and more than CPRE) and proposes a suite of reforms which would bring common sense changes to the planning policy review. Civic Voice gave written and oral evidence to the inquiry.
The Select Committee concludes that:
•There is no conclusive evidence that the planning system is a barrier to economic development
•Local Plans should be the centrepiece of the planning system
•Sustainable development should embrace the needs of people, the economy and the environment in equal measure
•Development should be guided by the principles of brownfield first and town centre first and in exceptional cases there should be absolute protection for some town centres from out-of-town development
•Local authorities should include an allowance for “windfall sites” when allocating land for housing development – including an allowance for these usually brownfield sites which cannot be planned for but which contribute significantly to housing land supply
The Government is expected to publish the final NPPF in February and has promised it by the end of March

Take action

It is more important than ever to maintain the pressure for sensible reforms to planning policy by writing to local MPs. The decision made in the next two months will shape the future patterns of planning and development for a generation.

Read the Select Committee report here
Read Civic Voice’s press release here

Spring 2010

The following are copies of letters sent to various council representatives by the Society requesting clarity on certain matters or to remind the council of values and matters that the Society feels are of great importance in the development of the town.


The Civic Society is aware that the design for roundabouts is being worked on. The bridge bottleneck presents a difficulty especially for pedestrians which could only be resolved at very great expense. We are of the opinion that two roundabouts on the town centre side of the bridge would not meet the “high quality junction” standard that Frishman Pell spoke about.

The extension of the town centre plan ending at the Conference Centre we fully support and believe that roundabouts at that bridge should be an integral part of that plan.

To that end the Civic Society, through Councillor Freer, has suggested a roundabout on either side of the bridge and enclosed is our drawing of the proposal.

We hope you will discuss the design with Paul Thomas and Adrian Lee with the intention of it becoming a roundabout/landscape entry into the town as much as a positive link to the Conference Centre and its surrounding estate.

Some of the land previously occupied by the second hand car sales show room may well be a valuable site for a Muslim Mosque over a ground floor car park.


You will recall that when the former coachworks/garage caught fire, we recall that you were caringly instrumental in having the stonework from the front saved. It was probably the buildings only special feature.

Recently, several people have approached the Civic Society to investigate where that stone may now be and could it be re used. If you are able to establish where the stone now is (Green Plant did the site clearance) perhaps it could be incorporated into one of the town’s future buildings?

As you will agree Planning and Conservation are important.


The Civic Society considers that the Borough Council made a very appropriate appointment in choosing Chris Prout to prepare the “Vision” illustrations. Each picture successfully creates a possible interpretation of what might be built around the town.

One of the features of these illustrations is that they have a common identity which in itself makes for a visual unity to the character of the town. They are both sympathetic to the town character but also suitably visionary.
By contrast, the developer’s proposal for the Market Place Restaurants/Cafes lacks this important character understanding. Paul Thomas has wisely stepped in and commissioned Chris to produce illustrations of how they might look perhaps goes some way to redeeming the situation.

Our purpose in writing to you is two fold

a) it is now more than ever vital that the illustrated design guide is produced. It was promised when Councillor Bayes was Mayor. Whilst the Rockingham Design Guide was helpful in some respects it shows the sort of content Kettering Design Guide should have. Additionally, colour and texture are so important.

b) It is strongly suggested that the development brief for each of the Suite Sixteen Sites should include a Chris Prout vision as to how the development should look. It is important to the town that it has its own distinguishing qualities and identity. Kettering is a unique place which we have the opportunity to reinstate after much of the original character was demolished.

We believe with your input and influence it can achieve its former glory!


The Civic Society supports in principal the improvements to both these streets which form two of the containing sides of the Heritage Quarter. The regeneration is so important to the town’s future.
Particularly unifying the area of paving level is valuable. Extending the Market Place paving such that it links together all the surrounding buildings is good. The use of paving to give an enhanced sense of place to buildings such as the Library and Art Gallery helps to define the role they play but also makes them part of the greater whole. The Council’s suggestion of York stone and granite paviors as already used is supported both as a good choice and gives visual continuity.

There are great concerns over moving the Heritage Quarter bus stops to the Horse Market. The Horse Market really doesn’t serve any particular place or part of the town. It is however one of the Borough Councils most successful landscaping projects. The buses which call at the Horse Market (generally Shuttle buses) work well as does the taxi rank. Moving Taxis to Sheep Street would be inappropriate from the patron’s point of view. Whilst location 3 on the consultation plan works well in itself, it would destroy the space.

The Planning Investigation into “Buses” is very appropriate and needs to be viewed in a wider context. As Newland Street proves, bus stops can be filthy places and the Horse Market does not deserve that treatment. A greater use of the St Andrews/Eskdaill Terminus would be better and could be a larger multiple route stop possibly with a glazed structure.

It is important to retain traffic entering Sheep Street/Market Street for use of premises owners, shoppers, delivery vehicles and the disabled. It may be that Sheep Street could be the first stopping off point for the Shuttle service coming from the station?

However, there should be one very important ingredient “the route should be vehicle/pedestrian shared” with a speed limit of perhaps 15 mph. In this respect, Gold Street already works well.

To naturally enforce this combined use, the vehicle route should be clearly defined and possibly be as narrow as practical. This would partly discourage the use as through road and rate it as “access only” other than for buses.

There is one further very important vehicle issue and that is deliveries to ‘the Yards’. At present there are no plans for delivery. This is also the case in the High Street, Gold Street and Silver Street. Deliveries are vital for shops to succeed.

The provision for parking spaces is helpful though perhaps not for disabled people visiting the George Hotel!

Some time ago the Civic Society delivered to the Council details of London’s Exhibition Road. In this context there are four important points:-

  Lighting: Strategically placed good quality lighting playing both an illuminating purpose and a sculptural role should be part of the design.

  Landscaping: The Birch trees already planted encroach too far into the Market Place paving leaving a reduced space for some events. There is however, a need for some further planting both of trees and shrubs.

  Property owners contribution: This would set out to improve the appearance of many of the properties. It may also be appropriate to make specific proposals and seek funding. For example, the whole front of Mr Ray’s building could be replaced. Planning Approval would never be granted for all the signs and the Corn Exchange/Cinema building. This needs addressing. The appearance/smell from the Kebab shop does not contribute well. The buildings enclosing the paving play a very important part.

  Use of pavements for warm weather tables for drinking/selling coffee and teas: They are always welcome but too many would damage the setting and add responsibility for street cleaning.

The subject of buses and the Town Centre Road network is not included in Sheep Street/Market Street Consultation but the Civic Society would welcome making a contribution to this.