New development in Queens Street Rushden for Grand Union Housing. Pictured L-R are: Cllr Barbara Jenny, Carol Conway Dave Lakin, Simon Preston and Isabel Thonger January 27 2017. Matthew Power Photography www.matthewpowerphotography.co.uk 07969 088655 mpowerphoto@yahoo.co.uk @mpowerphoto

A Grade II listed building, once a cornerstone of Northamptonshire’s shoemaking industry, is being converted to 14 apartments for affordable rent by local housing provider Grand Union Housing Group (GUHG).

Standing on the corner of Upper Queen Street and Cromwell Road, the building formed the factory base for Grenson the shoemakers from 1895 until 2013, when the company moved to new premises. The four storey building has stood empty and unused since then so its conversion to two bedroomed apartments will be welcomed by the local community.

Dave Lakin, GUHG’s Head of New Business and Development, said: “We have been looking to expand our areas where we can build affordable homes so we’re delighted to be working in East Northants, a new area for us, and on such an iconic building too. We’re pleased that Rockingham Forest Housing, GUHG’s newest member, will manage these homes on our behalf.

“We’re also looking forward to working with Westleigh Partnerships who are dedicated to ensuring that the materials used are sympathetic to the architecture of the original building, whilst at the same time giving it a new lease of life.”

Gary Turner, Head of Partnerships and Investment at Westleigh, said: “This project is an opportunity to provide much-needed new affordable housing in Rushden, whilst also regenerating an important piece of the town’s heritage and preserving it for future generations.

“We look forward to working with GUHG and the local authority to bring the project to fruition.”