Agenda item

Northampton Forward

The Committee to receive an update on Northampton Forward.


Councillor Nunn, Leader of the Council, and George Candler, Chief Executive, addressed the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and provided an update on Northampton Forward.  Salient points:


  • Since the last meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee a lot of progress has been made.
  • The consultation has now finished.  A lot of comments have been made and the Leader of the Council is working through the consultation comments but it appears that and the majority of comments, over 50%, were supportive.  There was strong encouragement for food and drink establishments within the town centre, history and culture makes people proud and there was also an acceptance of getting people living back in the town centre.  Further comments were around improvement areas such as the Market Square and Gold Street. They need to be clean, units improved and other suggestions such as the fountain to be replaced.  Christmas and Seasonal events were supported.  The Drapery was highlighted as people felt it was not a comfortable place to cross; 26% said it needs to be made more pedestrian friendly.  There was huge support for independent shops.  Further comments included support for the restoration of buildings, more green space and more event space.
  • Workshops were also held at the University of Northampton and in the town centre
  • The consultants are finalising their work and their report is awaited.
  • A Members’ briefing will be scheduled at the appropriate time. A report will be presented to Cabinet at its meeting on 16 October 2919 regarding the Town Centre Masterplan.
  • The Rough Order of Magnitude (high level costings) was submitted to Government recently.
  • The outline business case would be produced in January 2020, the full Business in April 2020 and the outcome reported in the summer of 2020.
  • The Authority has been successful in a number of funding bids including the Stronger Town’s Fund
  • The Northampton Forward Board continues with its activity and the Cross Party Working Group continues to meet regularly.
  • A further consultation is planned for December 2019 on the proposed areas that will form the business case submitted to government


The Overview and Scrutiny Committee made comment, asked questions and heard:


  • In response to a query regarding ownership of buildings, the Committee heard that Gold Street has always been commercial but it was a good time for the Council to step in and acquire buildings to help improve shop fronts.
  • The Market Square is one of the most valuable assets to the town and it is in a conservation area.   Only 8% of respondents to the consultation commented that the Market Square should be left as it is.
  • Local Plan, Part 2 -  the intention is to adopt in Spring 2021. It was commented that December is not usually a good time to consult. The Leader of the Council confirmed that the timings of the consultation are driven by the submission date
  • The Committee commented that plans need to be as strong as possible.
  • Northampton Forward is an opportunity for all to be focussed on climate energy.


The Chair thanked Councillor Nunn, Leader of the Council, and George Candler, Chief Executive, for their informative address and asked for a further update at the November 2019 meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.


AGREED:              That a further update on Northampton Forward is given to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 11 November 2019.