Desborough eyesore ‘causing wedding cancellations’

The eyesore seen from a balcony where wedding photographers would capture images.
The eyesore seen from a balcony where wedding photographers would capture images.

A Desborough businessman says a nearby ‘eyesore’ has cost him more than £40,000 in business.

Kris Malde, owner of the Ritz in Station Road, claims to have lost out on four wedding bookings since building work next door began in February.

The structure, just yards from where a bride and groom say their vows.

The structure, just yards from where a bride and groom say their vows.

The structure was built without planning permission, which is being sought retrospectively.

But Mr Malde says the sight of bare bricks is putting off prospective brides and grooms.

He said: “We’ve had four couples who wanted an outdoor wedding who came last year and loved the venue.

“Before they make their confirmation they come for a final viewing to put their deposit down.

“But each time they’ve come they’ve decided not to book.

“They’ve not said why but it’s clear it’s because they’ve seen the eyesore of a structure.

“We get at least £10,000 from each wedding so that’s £40,000 we’ve lost.”

The building works are just yards from the wooden gazebo where the bride and groom say their vows, meaning they would be in couples’ wedding photos.

Mr Malde added: “You wouldn’t want pictures like that in your wedding album.”

The works at the old bank branch are being carried out by John Stapleford.

It’s understood the structure in question will eventually become a single flat, one of five in total.

The ground floor of the property also has planning permission to be converted into a restaurant.

A statement on behalf of Mr Stapleford said: “17-19 Station Road, Desborough, (adjacent to the Ritz) is a former bank branch which has been vacant and falling into disrepair for many years.

“Mr Stapleford, an experienced local developer, is making a significant investment to bring this property at the heart of Desborough town centre back to life.

“All the proposals at the property are currently being considered by Kettering Council as part of a planning application and any comments should be made through the normal democratic procedures.”

Mr Malde said the Ritz hosts between 10 and 15 outdoor weddings a year and he fears losing even more money.

He also accused Kettering Council of “sitting on their hands” and not taking the appropriate action.

A Kettering Council spokesman said: “Kettering Council is aware of the structure and is following the procedures set out in its planning enforcement policy.

“It would not be appropriate for the council to comment further on a current case.”