Businesses and residents have their say on the future of Northampton town centre

More than 150 people gathered in Northampton to have their say and help shape the future of the town centre.

The ‘Northampton town centre – Our Next Steps’ event, hosted by Northampton town centre Business Improvement District (BID), brought a panel of business, education and council leaders together, with residents and businesses asking challenging questions and sharing their aspirations.

At the event, which took place at the Park Inn, Northampton on Wednesday 19th September, Rob Purdie, Executive Director of Northampton town centre BID summarised:

“It is time to act, to focus on our town centre, to be positive and to move forwards. Northampton town centre needs a big hug.”

John Griff, compere of the event said:

“We are here to talk about the future. Nobody can deny that Northampton has seen its fair share of challenges but there is also plenty to be positive about.”

Some highlights…

Deborah Mattock, Director of Human Resources, Marketing and International Relations, The University of Northampton urged businesses and residents to welcome thousands of students and staff to the town centre with the opening of the new Waterside campus.

The Market Square was announced as a priority for the BID and also the council. The council also announced that the Christmas lights will return this year, despite rumours to the otherwise and that they will pick up the £55,000 bill for improvements to The Drapery - to tackle traffic flow and reduce the air pollution.

Contractors are now on the site of the new museum, with the £7million refit now underway that will double its size. Next to the museum will also be home to a small business hub – Vulcan Works. This project has been awarded £3million of European money.

Jonathan Nunn, Leader of Northampton Borough Council said they were looking at ‘iconic and bold’ plans for the old Greyfriars bus station site, and that the borough council is also committed to getting people back into and living in the town centre, with apartments for key workers and ‘grand plans’ for private and social housing in and around the town centre.

There was applause from the audience when it was announced that the East Midlands in Bloom judges had visited Northampton and awarded it ‘gold’ status, which will take the town through to Britain in Bloom.

Summarising the event, Rob Purdie made a pledge to town centre businesses:

"We pledge to focus on vacant town centre units and how we can best fill them, the Market Square and how we promote Northampton as a ‘Shoe Town’.