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Almost a decade ago, the Royal Mail Sorting Office on the Barrack Road in Semilong Northampton was a thriving hub of people. It was a place and base of work for over 800 people and an asset to our community. The ability to collect parcels or deliver letters there was a real bonus for our Semilong Northampton residents.
Then in 2003 came a devastating arsonist induced fire. Royal Mail took the decision rather than spend money to repair the building, to close the Sorting Office and move operations including all the machinery to Crow Lane at the edge of Northampton. In one fail swoop, the great asset our Semilong Northampton community had, was gone.
The years have not been kind to this building nor to Royal Mail's reputation for abandoning it in that condition. The litter frequently amassing at the front has been a sore point for many residents, as has the constant sight of drunks, low lives and ne'er do wells who congregated outside it. The latter was solved not by the gallant efforts of the repeatedly called Northants Police (being on private property there was little they could do), but by Royal Mail in 2009 attempting to salvage their beleaguered reputation by erecting a 10 foot (estimated) steel perimeter fence. However, previous vandalism had taken it's toll and then in April 2010 came the thieves in the night to finish the job. In attempting to steal the valuable copper wiring from inside the building, the thieves rendered the building "structurally unsafe".
Royal Mail had previously put the building up for sale. How eager were Royal Mail to sell the abandoned building? Seven years answers that. Nevertheless, the Sorting Office building did not sell.
So here we are in 2010 with the Royal Mail Sorting Office declared structurally unsafe whilst the owners half heartedly attempting to seek buyers for it. All the while a derelict building on a valuable and prominent 3.71 acres (1.5hectares) site in our Semilong Northampton neighbourhood, so close to the Northampton Town Centre. This really is an awful state of affairs to be in. It does not do the appearance of our Semilong Northampton neighbourhood nor the reputation of Royal Mail any good whatsoever.
Royal Mail, having sat on the building for seven years, watching it attract litter and degenerates to the consternation of residents, have now declared that the building is "structurally sound" (in contradiction of their press releases and signs outside it which declare the building "structurally unsafe)
Royal Mail are therefore now inviting residents to consultation events with a view to turning the building into a food store. There are rumours afoot that even Tesco are interested.
The shameful behaviour of Royal Mail aside, to have a food store on the Barrack Road Sorting Office site would actually be advantageous not only to our Semilong Northampton community but also to the residents of Spring Boroughs, The Mounts, even Kingsthorpe. Benefits could include..
All in all, a substantial food store on the Sorting Office site could be a very good thing indeed for our Semilong Northampton community.
Castle Primary School, St. George's Street in Semilong Northampton
Or by email to: BarrackRoadConsultation@glhearn.com
If you wish to comment on this article or to Royal Mail's plans for the Sorting Office site, please contact us.
Article Date: 7th June 2010
Royal Mail sorting office on a prime 3.71 acre site close to the Northampton Town Centre, set on fire, burned, smoke damaged, vandalised, raided for copper wire, became the magnet for litter and social degenerates, but worse.. ignored for seven years by Royal Mail.