Plans for redeveloping the former offices of two rival newspapers in Northampton were approved within ten minutes of one another last week.
Coincidentally their applications for planning permission sat next to one another on the agenda of Northampton Borough Council’s planning committee on Thursday.
Both applications were granted with no objections raised.
The H&P offices in Derngate are to be converted into 64 high-spec apartments with underground parking. And an Aldi supermarket and 19 houses will be built on the site of the Chronicle’s offices and press hall on Upper Mounts.
Councillors welcomed both developments as a way of repopulating the town centre and providing much-needed food shopping.
The Derngate building has been sold by Tony and Marie Boullemier, two of the founders of the old Northants Post, which bought the building from the Royal Mail in 1984. They converted it into offices and a fitness centre, with the basement rented to a snooker club and latterly a theatre school.
After selling the Post to Thomson Regional Newspapers in 1988, they retained the building and leased the offices to several successive owners of their old paper until it moved out in 2012 under the ownership of Iliffe. It is now owned by Local World and operated from its offices in Bedford.
Tony said after the meeting:”“The building served us very well indeed but it’s now more than 60 years old and urgently needs bringing into the 21st century. The developers, Derngate Lofts, have come up with some very exciting plans for it.”
The Chronicle & Echo had its £5m headquarters purpose-built in the 1978 when it moved from its old base in the town’s Market Square.
Last year the Johnston Press title moved again, to nearby Victoria Street and the offices and press hall were demolished.