Agenda item

Northampton Forward


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


Councillor Jonathan Nunn, Leader of the Council, apprised:


In relation to the Future High Street Fund, they had engaged with a number of experts, in particular an organisation that will put the bid together. Priorities had been established such as the Market Square and Drapery improvements. A business case will need to be created and further details provided for the final submission of the business case back to MHCLG at the end of April. Proper and thorough amendments were taking place on the priorities although in some instances it was difficult to assess the immediate commercial return. A process has commenced using the specialist knowledge of those on the Board e.g. reviewing University “declined places” to understand the reasons for this as well as how the success of the Market Square could impact on wider businesses and the University.


In relation to a redesigned Market Square, various options are being considered including fixed stalls as well as events. Trees have been suggested for inclusion and potential green space. In the masterplan consultation many consultees were keen on some form of water to be included. A stage area had also been suggested although that was less likely. A public consultation will take place towards the end of 2019 on the proposals of the redesign of the market square.


An update was provided on the development of a Place marketing Strategy.   It is important to ensure the focus is correct initially and to produce strong messages of what Northampton is about. Funding would be used for this. The first stage is currently being commissioned to undertake the “discovery stage” while steps two and three would include designing and implementing the strategy and campaign. A member briefing will take place later this month (28 November) on the town centre masterplan.


The Committee asked questions, made comment and heard:


  • Member briefing on the Master Plan is supported by committee members
  • A beautiful water feature in Sheffield is a good example of a water feature. Councillor Jonathan Nunn advised of water features in Birmingham; water features would be investigated.  Hydroponic technology was suggested
  • Greyfriars Bus and Coach Interchange is a project that funding is being sought for
  • Blue plaques are being investigated for the town
  • Councillor Jamie Lane, Chair, suggested a need to review where the footfall counters are located however  he is aware it would be difficult to relocate these as new baseline figures would be established making like for like comparisons difficult
  • Four Waterside -  preparing a masterplan with close liaison with the Environment Agency. Open public consultation is required
  • Taking the emphasis off of retail for the town is key to its future success
  • The Committee requested a written brief on Northampton Forward for future meetings
  • It is important that Councillors are aware of the discovery costs of the Place Marketing Strategy (£20,000)
  • It was queried whether historians are being consulted on the project; for example “pre-consultation to the consultation” In response, the Leader advised that it must be ensured that all are engaged in the consultation rather than just one group such as the historians.  Councillor Emma Roberts suggested adding historians onto the Board
  • The Foundation Stones Project was referred to
  • There is a need to factor in maintenance costs when trees are planted
  • The Committee suggested that there is a need to find provisions for the homeless



The Chair, thanked Councillor Nunn and George Candler for their updates and reminded the Committee that they could email the Leader with suggestions and ideas at any time.


AGREED:   That a written brief on Northampton Forward is presented to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 20 February 2020.

at its meeting on 20 February 2020.