Northampton Forward Board has submitted a final bid for over £12m to the Government’s Future High Streets Fund, that will aim to redevelop the Market Square, attract more visitors and create new jobs.
The board has put forward its final plan following public consultations, and with input from key stakeholders in Northampton’s future, via Northampton Forward, a partnership involving a wide range of public and private sector partners who have come together to create a vision for the town and drive forward a strategic programme of improvements.
The bid builds on the earlier work and consultations around the town centre masterplan, which identified catalyst regeneration projects including Marefair and Gold Street, Market Square, Greyfriars, Fish Street and St Giles Street and Abington Street, all aligned to the board’s long-term strategic objectives for Northampton town centre.
The business case submitted by the board seeks funding to enable the delivery of improvements drawn from the masterplan aiming to address the need for public investment and set the tone for the future direction of Northampton town centre whilst acknowledging the importance of making Northampton attractive to both residents and visitors.
The funding will support the redevelopment of the town’s historic Market Square, which is considered by Northampton Borough Council, its partners and the public to be the catalyst to wider regeneration of the town.
Existing stalls will be transformed to provide a more attractive platform for independent traders, aiming to encourage greater footfall, bring a new demographic into the square and create a flexible space for other functions, events and activities.
Northampton Borough Council Leader and Chair of the Northampton Forward board, Cllr Jonathan Nunn, said: “We have developed – with partners and the public’s views – bold and ambitious plans to reimagine and transform our town centre with more quality jobs, better entertainment, better homes, better public spaces, better town centre events and better connectivity.
“We are so fortunate to have so many people committed to making the town the best it can be including the local councils, businesses, SEMLEP, the University, community groups, Northamptonshire Police and the many members of the public who engaged in our consultations and played a part in this grant bidding process. There are other important projects for the town, but the public have told us that improving the market square is their high priority. The Market Square project also fits within the criteria and rules for the Future High Streets Fund, which the Government have told us is essential, so we’re delighted to be submitting a really strong bid for funding towards that.
“We’ll continue to work on a number of ambitious projects, as we recognise that more investment is needed as we move to the next stage of the economic recovery from Covid-19. Together with partners we’re developing proposals in the form of a Town Investment Plan for the £3.6 billion Towns Fund which will focus on improved transport, broadband connectivity, skills and culture.”
Brendan Bruder, Co-chair of the town centre BID and Managing Director of Abbeyross Chartered Surveyors, added: “This bold and ambitious funding bid is acting as a catalyst to attract further investment and development to realise the long-term strategic vision for the future development of our town centre securing an optimistic future for our current and future businesses.
“This bid will get our regeneration programme up and running with the Towns Fund targeted next. There is an open invitation to our communities and the private sector to see this as their opportunity to help frame the debate and bring forward initiatives that can help turn around and reposition our town centre.”
The Future Hight Street Fund was launched by the government in autumn 2018, with £1 billion to be shared between successful applicants.