After seven years as an eyesore, the missing piece of the old Harboro’ Rubber Co re-development in Market Harborough could be put in place in a multi-million pound scheme announced this week.
Forty-five houses and apartments would curve round the junction of St Mary’s Road and Kettering Road in a four-storey, London-style crescent called Millstone Place, with a spur overlooking the River Welland.
The Grade -II listed former flour mill building in St Mary’s Road, a steam-powered corn-grinding mill dating from around 1860 before it became part of Harboro’ Rubber Co, would be turned into offices.
It is generally considered to be the oldest surviving industrial building in town.
And there would be a further 28 houses and apartments in a seven-storey block called The Embankment on the vacant triangle of land between Rockingham Road and the River Welland.
The scheme has been proposed by Rushton Hall-based developer Hazelton Homes Ltd.
Managing director Tom Hazelton told the Mail: “Yes, that site’s been derelict for a while, and a previous developer went out of business.
“But we’ve been working with the planners and have now come up with an exciting and quality scheme – classical and very modern – and a real mix of accommodation in flats and maisonettes.”
The site is now a wasteland of hoardings, scrubby trees and a large, water-filled hole.
While the scheme has still to be discussed by Harborough District Council planners, initial reaction from councillors is very positive.
Ward councillor Derrick Evans said: “I’m pleased something’s happening. That site’s been a concern for many residents for some time. It’s about time something was done – it’s been an eyesore.”
Council leader Cllr Blake Pain said: “From what I’ve seen, this will regenerate the area. It’s a real improvement and in-keeping with surroundings.”
Opposition group leader Cllr Phil Knowles said: “It’s a major development. People have been waiting for an extremely long time to see that site completed.”
The developers hope the new homes will benefit from being in walking distance of the supermarkets, town centre and train station.
Harborough District Council now hopes to move swiftly on the project, and could reach a decision by February.
Initial plans for the flour mill in 2005 included converting it into a bar/restaurant.