“When on November 15th 2011, the localism bill gained royal assent, the planning committee gave permission for the Old Church School in St. James to be demolished and replaced with 14 houses, ignoring the view of local people and consigning over 140 years of St. James history to the wreckers ball.
The SJRA was clear on this issue, a conversion either into residential or business use, thus preserving an elegant, historically important and integral building of St. James for future generations.
Despite the Residents’ Association protestations the community was ignored, the developer had their way and another piece of Northampton’s history was lost with nothing given back to the community in return.
So it will continue, across the town more power is being given to the developer. With this scenario in mind, the residents of St. James heard at the last Residents Meeting of the campaign to preserve Northampton last remaining Gasometers. Over 90% of residents present were in favour of preserving and converting these important remnants of our industrial past and commended it as a great idea.
For a stunning glimpse of what is achievable look at the Alliance building in Dublin. The Gasometer has been converted to accommodate a modern block within its structure, a fine example of preserving the past for the future.
Perhaps then, a fitting and “innovative” use for the Gasometers, should have been WNDC’s Innovation Centre? This would truly be a unique icon that would impress visitors to the town.
Northampton has lost too much heritage to the march of progress and the wallet of the developer, when all can be satisfied with meaningful consultation and a “can do” attitude from the town planners.
Evidence already suggests the Borough and WNDC are of a “won’t do” attitude with regard to the Gasometers.”
John Connolly, Chair
Graham Croucher, Secretary
On behalf of St. James Residents’ Association