After 11 years of standing empty, Bletchley’s “eyesore” Co-op building is set to be demolished to make way for 186 flats and a complex of cafes and restaurants.
The news has been hailed as a shot in the arm for the flagging town centre, as well as a means to provide much-needed local housing.
Bletchley Labour councillor Mohammed Khan has spent the past 18 months negotiating with the London businessman who owns the dilapidated building.
This week he revealed a pre-planning application had been submitted to MK Council, with full details to follow in the New Year.
Mr Khan said: “The owner plans to demolish the building as it is in such a bad state after standing empty for so many years.
“He intends to build 186 one and two bedroom flats, with some of them allocated for social housing. There will an underground car park and more parking on top of the building.”
The ground floor will be mixed retail, mainly cafes and restaurants.
Meanwhile pub giants Wetherspoon’s are preparing to move in to the former Bletchley Arms pub at the other end of Queensway.
“All this will attract more people and more businesses to the town centre, which is currently dead and deserted in the evenings. It is just what Bletchley needs,” said Mr Khan.
The huge 60,000 sq ft building, which sold everying from sofas to socks, closed its doors in 2006,
It has been marketed as for sale or to let ever since, but nobody has shown a firm interest i- and the only ‘tenants’ have been pigeons.
Councillor Mohammed Khan: “I’ve been inside and it is in a bad state, full of pigeons and their mess.
“Eleven years is just too long for a building in the heart of a town to stand empty. It is good that it’s being demolished and brought alive again.”
In June this year the Let’s Help Bletchley and Fenny Stratford Facebook group begged for something to be done, describing the town as a mecca of gambling shops.