Northampton Central Area Action Plan 2013

Chapter 6: Spatial Development Strategy

Main Town Centre Uses

6.1         To evolve from a market town to a prosperous Town Centre, Northampton needs to offer a much wider range of key town centre uses including retail, offi ces, leisure and public administrative services. These will not only increase their provision in terms of fl oor space, but also job opportunities across the various employment sectors as required by the National Planning Policy Framework.

6.2          Northampton’s Central Area also needs to be strengthened to address the comparative imbalance of investment, in particular retail spend that exists in favour of out-of-centre competition, whilst meeting the requirements of a growing population.  It faces competition from out-of-town provision in district centres, retail parks and strategic employment areas. These are some of the reasons why Northampton’s Central Area under performs. Reversing this trend is key to achieving the vision and regenerating large areas of the Central Area.

Definition of the ‘Town Centre’

6.3        To be consistent with national policy, the ‘Proposals Map’ identifi es the extent of the town centre and Primary Shopping Area. In sequential planning terms, the Primary Shopping Area is the preferred location for retail development, with the town centre being the preferred location for other ‘main town centre uses’. Given the current imbalance and harm that is being caused by competition from out-of-centre developments, and other large district centres, the Plan seeks to ensure that an impact assessment is undertaken for developments proposing 1,000 square metres gross or more of main town centre uses. This will assist in controlling the extent to which additional developments outside the Central Area will continue to grow and compete with the town centre with regard to the variety of main town centre uses.




The Town Centre Boundary as defi ned on the ‘Proposals Map’

will, for the purposes of sequential testing, be the preferred location for main town centre uses, with the exception of retailing where the Primary Shopping Area will prevail, followed by edge of town centre sites.


Developments of main town centre uses of more than 1,000 square metres gross proposed outside the town centre boundary will be subject to an impact assessment.


Delivering a Vibrant Retail Centre

6.4         Defining and strengthening Northampton’s Primary Shopping Area (as shown on the ‘Proposals Map’) is vital if the Central Area is to fulfi l its role as a town centre (as defined by National Planning Policy Framework) and the principal shopping centre for Northamptonshire. To show the distinction between the types of use classes within Northampton Central Area, the Primary Shopping Area has been broken down into Primary and Secondary Frontages (as shown on the Proposals Map’ and listed in Appendix F. ‘The Character of Shopping Frontages’).

•     Primary Frontages are the focus for retail uses

•     Secondary Frontages will have a retail focus but provide opportunities for a greater diversity of uses away from retailing, such as fi nancial services, restaurants and drinking establishments

6.5          The Council aims to develop a compact and quality retail centre by classifying the frontages and defi ning a Primary Shopping Area. The Council will also develop a robust retail circuit, which will create a more legible retail centre and strengthen the role of key retailing streets of Abington Street, Fish Street and St Giles Street. The retail circuit will seek to increase the vitality and viability of the town by promoting a range of quality retailing experiences for visitors. This range will include large-scale national stores that will locate in the Grosvenor Centre and its extension, through to smaller-scale individual specialist retailers in St Giles Street.  Providing active building frontage on to streets throughout the Central Area and improving the design of shop frontages will be central to developing an effective retail circuit and increasing vitality, together with the increased perception of quality. 

6.6          A substantial increase in high quality floor space that meets the needs of modern town centre retailers will be required to meet the Central Area’s role as a town centre. Therefore, the Council has identified future extensions to the Primary Shopping Area. These extensions include the planned extension to the Grosvenor Centre (Policy 17 ‘Grosvenor Centre Redevelopment’) and the redevelopment of the Abington Street East site (Policy 18 ‘Abington Street East’).


Northampton Primary Shopping Area will become the main focus for shopping activity within the borough. Retail development will take place in the Primary Shopping Area as defi ned on the ‘Proposals Map’.  

The Primary Shopping Area will be extended as shown on the ‘proposals map’ by the proposed Grosvenor Centre redevelopment (as defined in Policy 17 ‘Grosvenor Centre Redevelopment’), the redevelopment of the former Fish Market and adjacent area (as defined in Policy 18 ‘Former Fish Market and Adjoining Buildings’) and the Drapery (as defi ned in Policy 32 ‘Drapery’).



POLICY 12 (Proposed extension to psa) : INTERACTIVE MAPPING



Within the Primary Frontages (as shown on the ‘Proposals Map’ and listed in Appendix F: ‘The Character of Shopping Frontages’), the change of use from retail (Class A1) will be allowed where it will not result in:

•    A significant decline in the total length of the identified retail frontage below 80%, or, where this is already below 80% reduce further retail frontage.

•     Two or more adjoining premises being used other than for retail.

Within the Secondary Frontages (as shown on the ‘Proposals Map’ and listed in Appendix: F. ‘The Character of Shopping Frontages’), the change of use from retail (Class A1) will be allowed where it will not result in a significant decline in the total length of identified retail frontage below 60%, or, where this is already below 60% reduce further retail frontage.

In addition, development at ground

floor level within the Central Area will be expected to:

•     Positively contribute to the character and function of a frontage (for primary and secondary frontages a brief assessment of the current and desired future character and function are set out in Appendix F: ‘The Character of Shopping Frontages’) and be compatible with adjoining uses.

•     Provide high quality shop fronts which will be consistent with the Shopfront Design Guide.

•     In the case of non-retail uses, to provide an active frontage with views into the unit or, if this cannot be achieved a high quality window display.


Policy 13 (Secondary Frontage) : INTERACTIVE MAPPING


The Council's Shopfront Design Guide

NBC Shopfront Guide

6.7          The Council is confident that a substantial extension to the Grosvenor Centre will be delivered, following the signing of a Development Agreement with Legal and General. As a logical extension to the Primary Shopping Area and the town’s premier shopping destination, the Grosvenor Centre redevelopment proposal is the key to increasing and enhancing both the supply and quality of retail development for Northampton. It is anticipated that it will fulfil a substantial part of the identified retail capacity in the period to 2021. 

6.8          It is anticipated that the Grosvenor Centre redevelopment will accommodate between 32,000–37,000 square metres (gross) of comparison floorspace. The actual retail capacity within the Grosvenor Centre development will be determined through the detailed design of the scheme. 

6.9          The Council has identified two further sites for retail development that have good prospects for delivery. These will help to meet identified retail capacity in the period to 2026. The sites are: 

•              Abington Street East

•              Drapery and land on College Street


The Council will accommodate 61,000 square metres gross / 40,700 square metres net of comparison retail floor space and 4,500 square metres gross / 3,000 square metres net of convenience floorspace in the Town Centre in the period to 2026. The majority of this will be delivered at:


•     Grosvenor Centre Redevelopment Site - up to 37,000 square metres gross / 24,700 square metres net


•     Abington Street East – up to 9,000 square metres gross / 6,000 square metres net


•     Buildings and land on Drapery and College Street – up to 17,000 square metres gross / 11,300 square    metres net


6.10          The provision of office stock within the Central Area is weak. This long-standing trend needs to be reversed, with the Central Area being the office location of choice, in order to meet the Vision. The Council has sought to allocate sufficient sites to achieve this within this Action Plan; taking into account the West Northamptonshire Employment Land Study.  These office developments will be primarily focused in the western and southern areas of the Central Area and within the Town Centre Boundary as defined on the Proposals Map. Jobs growth will be promoted through these office developments. More specific development sites are set out later in the Plan through Policy 19 ‘Castle Station’, Policy 20 ‘St John’s’, Policy 21 ‘Angel Street’, Policy 22 ‘Bridge Street’, Policy 24 ‘Spring Boroughs’, Policy 25 ‘The Waterside’ and Policy 28 ‘The Waterside: Avon/ Nunn Mills/ Ransome Road’.

6.11         With regard to other business uses, given the availability of sites within the rest of Northampton, (as evidenced by the West Northamptonshire Employment Land Study[1] ), the Central Area should not provide for general industrial and warehousing uses. However, some existing employment sites which accommodate mainly operational and general industrial uses have been retained as business allocations. For sites that have been identified for safeguarding, alternative uses will only be considered if the amount of existing office floor space can be re-accommodated as part of a mixed use development, or if the loss of business premises would be outweighed by the proposal meeting the strategic objectives. This will ensure that there is an adequate supply of office floorspace over the Plan period. A sequential approach to site selection has been undertaken to identify new sites for offices. Although some sites are within the town centre boundary, the majority are edge-of-centre, or other locations within the Central Area. Office development in these locations will do more to improve the vitality and viability of the town centre than other locations within Northampton outside the Central Area

1. Roger Tym and Partners, West Northamptonshire Employment Land Study (2010) [back]


 Roger Tym and Partners


The Council will promote the central area as an office and business centre, by increasing the provision of quality and range of office space and business accommodation and safeguarding existing stock. Sites identified in the central area action plan will provide up to 132,500 square metres gross of new office development and the creation of around 7,500 jobs. 

Development proposals within key priority areas 

Development proposals that include B1 office space, in a range of unit sizes, will be acceptable in key priority areas for regeneration. The following key office locations and their potential quantum of developable floorspace are promoted within these specified time frames: 

Up to 2016 

•     St John’s and Angel Street (up to 37,000 square metres)

•     Avon/ Nunn Mills / Ransome Road (approximately 16,000 square metres)

•     Freeschool Street (approximately 2,500 square metres)

•     The Waterside: St Peters Way (up to 43,000 square metres) (start on site – unlikely to be completed)

2016 – 2026

•     Castle Station (up to 26,000 square metres)

•     Bridge Street (up to 8,000 square metres)

•     Spring Boroughs (amount to be determined through future master planning process)

•     The Waterside: St peters way (balance of remaining 43,000 square metres)


Safeguarding existing premises / sites

 Existing employment sites will be retained for employment use (within the B uses of the Use Classes Order). Their redevelopment for office use, and/ or intensification of existing office stock will be supported.

 Applications for change of use or redevelopment for uses outside the b use class will only be permitted where it can be demonstrated that the loss of employment floor space will be outweighed by meeting the strategic objectives or that any office floorspace is replaced as part of a mixed use proposal.


6.12          As with other main town centre uses, the Town Centre Health Check identified that the Central Area currently faces out-of-centre competition in attracting inward investment in leisure and entertainment uses.  Higher quality outlets are at present under represented in the Central Area. Consequently, it is failing to fulfil its potential to attract visitors as well as those with high spending power within the catchment area. Opportunities for the Central Area to develop a stronger complementary day / evening offer which appeals to all have been identified in the Plan. For other leisure or cultural uses there is no evidence of any short-term need for large facilities, such as multi-screen cinemas or bowling alleys. However, the central Museum houses the nationally recognised boot and shoe collection and it requires additional space, to create an acceptable showcase facility for this collection. In terms of meeting leisure and cultural needs the following areas have been identified: 

•     Market Square (Policy 31 ‘Market Square’), supporting the creation of a family restaurant/ bar cluster within the Market Square, to make it more akin to notable European squares higher quality outlets are at present under represented in the Central Area.

•     St John’s (Policy 20 ‘St John’s’) and Angel Street (Policy 21 ‘Angel Street’) to complement the cultural offer, by potentially accommodating an extension to the theatre activities to spill-over into the proposed. public square and complementary leisure through restaurants and bars•     The Waterside (Policy 25 ‘The Waterside’) a range of sites to provide commercial leisure uses appropriate to a waterside edge to complement the range of the offer of the town centre.

6.13          Hotels are a main town centre use. Research shows that there is expression of interest from hotel operators in locating in Northampton; however the type of hotelier interest appears to vary with the economic cycle. A number of sites that can accommodate hotels have been identified in 6.1 ‘Major Development Sites Policies’. Although regarded as appropriate for hotels in terms of delivery on these sites, the sequential approach will still apply in terms of prioritising delivery:

•     Town centre (identified development sites include St John’s and Angel Street)

•     Edge of centre (Waterside (St Peter’s), Castle Station)

•     Out of centre (Avon/ Nunn Mills/ Ransome Road)


6.14          Providing appropriate residential accommodation within the Central Area is important to create a sustainable place. Encouraging a greater residential population will add to the vitality and viability of the Central Area through increased use of restaurants, shops, leisure and other facilities. Provision of new dwellings will, for the most part, be achieved by the redevelopment of redundant industrial sites and the regeneration of the existing, predominantly residential area of Spring Boroughs. It is anticipated that there will be up to 3,400 additional dwellings by 2026. (More detail is contained in Appendix: H. ‘Potential Housing Sites  (West Northamptonshire Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment) Outside Major Development Sites’ and Appendix: I. ‘Indicative Outputs by Land Use and Phases 2011-2026’).

6.15         Evidence in the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA)[2] and People and Places Strategy[3]   indicates that there is a need to provide 1 and 2 bedroom properties to meet existing need, but also to attract younger professionals to Northampton who are more interested in living in a town centre environment. However, there is a need to create a more balanced mix of communities within the Central Area. The opportunities for provision of family housing are likely to be limited inside or adjacent to the town centre boundary (as defined on the ‘Proposals Map’). This is due to the density of development and the existing environment.  However, within the rest of the Central Area opportunities for family housing are greater.  Levels of affordable housing will be consistent with amounts and tenure mix set out in the West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy which has a requirement for the Northampton related development area of 35% affordable housing on all sites of 15 dwellings or more. Design quality in terms of standards such as Lifetime Homes, Code for Sustainable Homes and Building for Life for homes in the Central Area will be consistent with those set out in the West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy.



2. Open Research Service, West Northamptonshire Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) (2010) [back]
3. CACI and Scott Wilson, People and Places Strategy (2008) [back]

6.16     The University of Northampton is seeking development of purpose built student accommodation. The inclusion of this within the Central Area would be beneficial in assisting to meet the Central Area vision and also for the students. The potential development is 100-150 beds for immediate need, and 300-700 in 5 years time which are more likely to be located within the Central Area.


The Central Area will in the period up to 2026 

accommodate up to 3,400 homes. The following development sites will contribute to the majority of these new homes: 

•     Waterside (St Peters Way)

•     Waterside (Avon / Nunn Mills / Ransome Road)

•     Bridge Street

•     Castle Station

•     Upper Mounts / Great Russell Street

•     Spring Boroughs


Residential development proposals within the central area will compromise a mix of dwelling types, sizes and tenures, including levels of affordable housing consistent with the amounts and tenure mix set out in the West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy. However within and adjacent to the Town Centre Boundary (as shown on the ‘Proposals Map’) developments which predominantly comprise one or two bedroom apartments or student accommodation will be acceptable.

Policy 16 : Interactive mapping

6.17         The provision of community facilities and services is important for the development of a viable and prosperous Central Area. These facilities are likely to be reflective of its role as a town centre for the wider population not just related to the communities within the Central Area.  Where community facilities exist it might be necessary to protect them from displacement by more financially attractive development. In addition development proposals within the Central Area will, where necessary, make appropriate provision for community services either on-site or through an appropriate financial contribution to off- site facilities. Within this Action Plan the issue of an appropriate level of contributions towards infrastructure is set out in Chapter 7. ‘Infrastructure, Delivery and Monitoring’. The Site Development Policies in this chapter deal with acknowledged large-scale facilities that will need to be provided on site. Northampton General Hospital

6.18        Northampton General Hospital performs as the major acute healthcare hospital for the population of 370,000 including Northampton, Daventry and South Northamptonshire.  Specialist services are also provided to the whole of Northamptonshire and patients from North Buckinghamshire and North Bedfordshire. This includes being the designated cancer centre for Northamptonshire, the provider of more specialised cardiology services and also dialysis.

6.19         The hospital has developed incrementally over the years and does not make best use of its existing site which has impacts on efficiency of service. It contains a number of single storey buildings and all its car parking is surface level. The uncertainties associated with healthcare around funding and preferred service models make it difficult to plan with any certainty over the longer period. Nevertheless, in the drive to improve hospital services it is likely that some of the older hospital accommodation will either have to be redeveloped, or in the case of the listed buildings could become available for non-hospital use. The rationalisation of existing car parking space could provide additional land on which to build additional hospital facilities. There is an opportunity for the hospital to work with other large employers and the County Council in pursuing an integrated transportation strategy that will reduce demand for access to and from the site by car.

6.20         Northampton General Hospital started the process of planning for the future use of its site, through developing a Strategic Masterplan[4] . The Council is keen to work with the General Hospital to take forward the masterplanning work that has been done and agree some parameters for future development to ensure that a planned approach to change is undertaken.

4. Sheppard Robson, Northampton General Hospital Phase 2 Report: Strategic Masterplan (2008) [back]

6.21         There are a number of major development sites which will contribute significantly towards achieving the vision and objectives of the CAAP. The scale of change is considerable with over 25% of the Central Area identified as development sites, or subject to associated changes, for example, junction improvements. Some substantial sites are owned by Northampton Borough Council, West Northamptonshire Development Corporation, the Homes and Communities Agency and Northamptonshire County Council. These will be brought forward in association with private developers. There is still likely to be a prominent role for the public sector in an enabling role, for example, through the provision of associated necessary infrastructure or compulsory purchase processes on many of the sites owned and to be developed by the private sector. 

6.22         This section provides more detail on the development sites and the site specific planning policies that will apply, in addition to the policies within the rest of this Development Plan Document.

6.23        The Grosvenor Centre constitutes a significant part of the retail frontage within the Central Area. The site includes a purpose built shopping centre, the Greyfriars vacant bus station with offices above, the vacant land to the west and east, the Mayorhold multi-storey car park together with associated land including subways and the Upper Mounts surface level car park on Victoria Street. It is one of the biggest and most important development sites within and adjacent to the Primary Shopping Area of the Central Area. 

6.24         The present development, which took place in the 1970s and 80s, whilst still functional and to a certain extent commercially successful, overall does not constitute an attractive environment.  It also has a poor relationship with the rest of the historic environment that surrounds it. The buildings are bulky,monolithic and devoid of architectural interest and visual stimulation. Overall it does not form an attractive pedestrian environment as it is heavily trafficked and there is extremely limited pedestrian movement between the north and south in the daytime. The situation becomes worse in the evenings as it is very isolated when the buildings are closed.  

6.25         Despite some recent investment it is now beginning to show its age.  Its design and layout cannot be easily adapted to accommodate the needs of modern retailers and the demand for new retail premises in the town centre. 

 6.26         The bus station is an important building in terms of its function as a bus interchange and hub for bus services within Northampton as set out in Chapter 5. ‘Accessibility and Movement’. The building itself is of its time and whilst warm and dry, is dark and can at times, particularly in the evenings, feel like an intimidating environment. It has a substantial amount (approximately 14,000 square metres) of obsolete vacant office floorspace and car parking above.

6.27        The Grosvenor Centre site redevelopment provides an opportunity for a logical extension and remodelling of the principal purpose built shopping centre within Northampton’s centre. This will reinforce the existing primary shopping frontages and cater for longer-term retailer demand. This redevelopment is critical to sustaining Northampton centre’s competitiveness as a retail destination and in delivering the Central Area vision. It should also provide the opportunity to accommodate a range of other town centre uses to reinforce the role of the Central Area and provide potential for significant improvements to the townscape.




The Grosvenor Centre redevelopment will be in a manner consistent with the development principles set out in Figure 6.1 ‘Policy 17:Grosvenor Centre Redevelopment Development Principles’. It will:

•     Provide up to an additional 37,000 square metres gross / 24,300 square metres net internal retail floor

space plus ancillary uses including restaurant / leisure floor space as an extension to the existing primary shopping area.

•     Provide a suitable long term, and if necessary interim, replacement for the bus station consistent with the criteria set out in bus interchange.

•     Make the most effective use of the site reflective of its central location to accommodate a mixture of other main town centre uses, such as

offices, leisure and entertainment, hotel and also residential development.

 •     Provide a new pedestrian route, which should be open and feel safe 24-hours a day, between the Market Square and Lady’s Lane through to newlands; and also a pedestrian route between Abington Street and Lady’s Lane through to Victoria Street.

•     Retain the existing amount of convenience floor space within the grosvenor centre and explore all possibilities of accommodating additional convenience fl oorspace tomeet identifi ed available capacity.

 •     Provide sympathetic design of an appropriate scale taking into account the historic character of Sheep Street together with improved pedestrian and cycle connectivity north/ south and reinstate a building line in the missing gap to the north of Lady’s Lane and to the south of Greyfriars.

 •     Be outward looking maximisingexternal active frontages particularlyat ground floor level.

 •     Ensure that new development is well related and sympathetic to the characterisation of the surrounding areas and in particular improves the appearance of all the facade on the Market Square and the setting of Welsh House.

•       Provide appropriate public realm that is consistent with the ambitions of the Public Realm Implementation Framework and changes in the character of the highway particularly along Lady’s Lane, Sheep Street, Greyfriars, Mayorhold, Victoria Street, Wellington Street, Abington Street and Market Square.


•       In recognition of its identified designation as a proposed extension to the Primary Shopping Area (Policy 12 ‘Definition of the Primary Shopping Area’) ensure that the development positively addresses the other sites proposed as extensions to the Primary Shopping Area, Abington Street East (Policy 18) and also Drapery (Policy 32) to enhance their prospects of delivery.

•     Include provision of secure cycle storage facilities: long stay cycle parking for employees and for short stay shoppers, in accordance with the standards set out in Appendix:

E. ‘Parking Standards: Central Area Zones’.


•       Have appropriate parking management measures consistent with Policy 10 ‘Parking’.


•       Remove the Greyfriars, Lady’s Lane and Wellington Street subways whilst ensuring that pedestrian connectivity is not comprised.


The Grosvenor Centre

Grosvenor Centre

Figure 6.1 Grosvenor Centre Redevelopment Development Principles

Figure 6.1_P17_Grosvenor




6.28         The Abington Street East site is split into two parcels by the Ridings, a narrow access/service road, with the northern parcel facing Abington Street and the southern parcel fronting St Giles Street. The northern parcel contains the existing Grade II Central Library and the buildings at 78 – 82 Abington Street.  It is located within the Primary Shopping Area, and on the pedestrianised part of Abington Street and part of the primary shopping frontages. The southern parcel contains a family planning clinic, buildings at 71 St Giles Street and an area of surface car parking. Part of the existing properties fronting St Giles Street is located within the defined secondary shopping frontage.


The Northampton Central Library and adjoining properties fronting Abington Street and St Giles Street will be

regenerated to:

• Retain, preserve and enhance the character of the Northampton Central Library building, and respect the setting of the Derngate and St Giles Conservation Areas.

• Provide up to 9,000 square metres gross / 6,000 square metres net of comparison retail floorspace on land between Abington Street and St Giles Street.

• Provide the opportunity for the continued provision of the library and clinic services either within the regeneration site or elsewhere within the Central Area.

• Contribute to the improvement of the shopping frontages along
Abington Street (primary shopping frontage) frontage and St Giles Street (secondary shopping frontage) through incorporating the principles of the Shopfront Design Guide Supplementary Planning Document.




6.29      The Castle Station site and car parks, and to the east, land and buildings associated with the railway social club is predominantly owned by Network Rail. The station building which was developed in the 1960s has not been substantially updated since then. It provides a basic transport facility, which does not enhance the travelling experience of visitors. As a gateway to the town centre, the station does not present a good initial impression to those entering the Principal Urban Area within Northamptonshire. These inadequacies are heightened by its relative isolation from other areas of activity within the Central Area. Platform capacity is adequate for current needs but will not be from 2012. There is a low intensity of use on the site that is not reflective of the opportunities that it brings in its role as a major transport facility. 

6.30        There is a need to address the deficiencies of the current station to provide a future station which is fit for purpose and reflective of Northampton’s ambition whilst contributing to the economic and social regeneration of the town. An initial Masterplan ‘The Regeneration of Castle Station Stage 1 Final Report’[5]    identified the potential to take the site forward for redevelopment; this has been updated further with more detailed work.

6.31        It is anticipated that a new station building and concourse will be delivered, together with ancillary retail and eating facilities.  Funding for the new station building was secured in mid-2012. Consolidation of the existing predominantly surface level car park into a multi-storey car park will be in the next phase. This will provide sufficient area to develop a significant amount of office floorspace, together with associated ancillary uses and residential properties to take advantage of the excellent access to the train station.

5. BDP, CBRE, MVA and Gleeds, The Regeneration of Castle Station Stage 1 Final Report (2006) [back]

3dNorthampton Station Photo

6.32         The station site was created in Victorian times on large areas of what was previously Northampton castle.  Much of the castle was destroyed, nevertheless, regeneration of the station provides an opportunity to gain further knowledge from archaeological assessment and subsequent improvements to interpretation of this historical important feature.  Given the likely archaeology on the site, the Council will also require an appropriate archaeological assessment to be undertaken prior to development.



The Castle Station will be developed in a manner consistent with the development principles set out in

 Figure 6.2 ‘Policy 19: Castle Station Development Principles’. It will accommodate:

•     A new station building and concourse reflective of its role as a principal gateway to Northampton serving a population of over 200,000 and the Central Area.


•     Facilities to cater for the identified patronage up to at least 2026. 


•     A multi storey car park for rail users. 


•     Improved interchange facilities to encourage substantially increased use of buses, taxis and cycles to and from the site, including the provision of secure cycle storage facilities for long and short stay travellers and pick-up/ drop off cyclists.


•     Up to 26,000 square metres of office floor space.


•     Up to 270 dwellings.

•     Ancillary retailing, cafés, restaurants and bars.


•     A development that preserves and enhances the significance of the former castle site and, in particular, the undesignated archaeological remains on site, the scheduled monument and listed Postern Gate, the setting of these heritage assets and St Peter’s Church and other historic buildings in marefair. 


•     Buildings that front and give a sense of enclosure to Black Lion Hill and which reflect its historic character. 


•     A pedestrian route across St Andrew’s road to Spring Boroughs as part of a wider link through to the Central Area.


•     Environmental enhancements to the River Nene Brampton Branch.



Figure 6.2 Castle Station Development Principles

Castle Station 3

6.33         The St John’s, Angel Street and Bridge Street sites together form a large area for development within the Central Area.  St John’s is owned in its entirety, by the Borough Council and was predominantly used as surface level car parking. Angel Street is primarily owned by the County Council, incorporating their main town centre offices and a large vacant site used primarily for parking purposes. The Borough Council also owns a number of buildings on the Fetter Street frontage.  Other buildings towards the south of the Angel Street area are in private ownership. 

6.34         In the southern part of the Angel Street area is a gyratory road system, a product of 1970s highways interventions. This has created a fragmented and unattractive townscape, with limited benefits for the transportation network.  It also impacts on the setting of a number of listed buildings in this location. The gyratory also impacts on the Bridge Street site, which has a mixture of primarily low intensity, low- grade industrial uses and restaurants, with a greater range of owners.

 6.35        The development potential of the three sites was explored through a piece of work commissioned by Northampton Borough Council, Northamptonshire County Council and West Northamptonshire Development Corporation the St John’s Masterplan[6] . This recognised that it was necessary to capitalise on the proximity to the theatre and museums in order to strengthen the cultural offer of the town, whilst using the existing historic fine grain of townscape to create an environment that is well suited to niche retailers, business and cultural uses. The area also provides an opportunity for the County Council to consolidate much of its currently dispersed office based functions on to one central site. The three development sites are shown in the Development Principles Figures 6.3 to 6.5.

6. Taylor Young with Lambert Smith Hampton, St John's Masterplan (2008) [back]



St John’s will be developed in a manner consistent with the development principles set out in Figure 6.3 ‘Policy 20: St John’s Development Principles’ and in particular will:

•     Comprise office development (up to 10,000 square metres) a hotel, small scale retail (up to 250 square metre units), restaurants, cafés and living accommodation including student accommodation.

 •     Deliver a public square to the north of the Albion Street car park adjacent to the Royal and Derngate Theatre entrance, fronted by restaurants, cafés and bars, public houses or drinking establishments at ground floor level.

•     The Albion Place frontage to be set back to the current building line of numbers 3 to 7 and of a complementary scale and use.

•     Contain no vehicular parking or any servicing area in front of new development built on the Albion Street frontage.

•     Will be sympathetic in its form to the topography of the site.

•     Provide uses that give an actively overlooked frontage throughout the day and evening along the Swan Street and St John’s passage way elevations.

•       Enhance pedestrian routes adjacent to the development areas, including an improved pedestrian crossing facilities between St John’s and Becket’s

Park across Victoria Promenade, that improve the links between the

waterside to the south and the Central Area to the north.


Figure 6.3 St John’s Development Principles

Figure 6.3


Angel street will be developed in a manner consistent with the Development Principles set out in Figure 6.4 ‘Policy 21: Angel Street Development Principles’ and expected to play a major role in the provision of new offi ces. On completion of the remodelling of Plough Hotel gyratory it will:


•    Provide up to 27,000 square metres of office development.

•    Create a publicly accessible square active with uses at ground floor level as an integral part of an office development on the site bounded by Angel Street, St John’s Street and Fetter Street.

•    Provide a mixture of office, hotel,residential, and small scale retailing,financial services, restaurants,cafés and bars, public houses / drinking establishments within the existing County Council offices.

•    Introduce active frontages for the day time and early evening along Guildhall Road.

•    Without causing harm to existing heritage assets provide a direct public pedestrian route between Angel Street and George Row.

•    On the site bounded by Guildhall Road, Fetter Street and Angel Street provide office accommodation. In 34-38 Guildhall Road premises to accommodate some small-scale creative businesses , or as a replacement facility for the Fish Market Gallery.

 •   Be Sympathetic to the change in topography of the site and its settings in terms of its form and height and in particular not impact on the strategic views of All Saints from the south and north.

•    Provide a mixture of office and  residential development on the site bounded by Bridge Street, Victoria Promenade and Victoria Gardens with small scale retailing ,financial services, restaurants, cafes and barS at ground floor level along the street frontages.








Figure 6.4 Angel Street Development Principles

 Figure 6.4



Looking South down Guildhall Road

Looking South Guildhall


Bridge street will be developed in a manner consistent with the development

principles set out in Figure 6.5 ‘Policy 22: Bridge Street Development Principles’, and in particular on

completion of the remodelling of the Plough Hotel gyratory will:

•       Redevelop north and south of Navigation Row in a comprehensive manner.  

•      Deliver up to 8,000 square metres of office development in addition to residential with small scale retail,  financial services and restaurant uses ground floor.

•       Introduce active frontages for the day time and early evening along Bridge Street.

•       Develop landmark buildings which must be provided at the northern and southern    ends of the development site.Development proposals will need to be compatible with the existing brewery operation to the west, in terms of amenity, design, scale and land use.

Policy 22 : Interactive mapping


Carlsberg Brewery and apartments at Far Cotton

Carlsberg Brewery

Figure 6.5 Bridge Street Development Principles

Figure 6.5 Bridge Street 2

6.36         The premises of Northampton Chronicle and Echo have been based on the Upper Mounts since 1978. The site was purpose built to provide headquarters, printing press and distribution facilities.

In September 2008, the printing side of operations ceased and the premises behind the office frontage have remained vacant.

6.37         Great Russell Street lies to the north of this site and a Masterplan was produced for the Borough Council in 2005. The site is approximately 1 hectare. There are advantages to combining this site with the Chronicle and Echo site in order to achieve a comprehensive redevelopment of the corridor between The Mounts and Clare Street, which forms the northern boundary.The area is part of that currently being evaluated for inclusion into a Boot and Shoe Conservation Area. 

6.38         The area comprises a mixture of low- grade employment and retail uses together with several vacant / derelict leisure uses, which make for a low quality environment. The surrounding uses are Victorian residential with the Grade II Listed Building of Clare Street Drill Hall / Territorial Army Centre providing a high quality background on the north edge. This is reinforced by a recent conversion from factory to residential. 

6.39         The Mounts frontage provides an opportunity to provide a building reflective in scale and character of other public buildings along the northern edge of this street.


Upper Mounts / Great Russell Street will be developed in a manner consistent with the development principles set out in Figure 6.6 ‘Policy 23: Upper Mounts / Great Russell Street Development Principles’ and in particular will:

•      Be planned in a comprehensive manner to deliver a mixed use scheme to include some or all of the following uses: residential, office / small scale employment, community(including religious facilities), leisure, educational, and small scale retailing.

•      Enhance the character on the northern Clare Street frontage provide a building on the mounts  

        frontage reflective in scale and character of other public buildings along the northern edge of street.

•       Provide public realm improvements including public art on the mounts frontage and enhancing pedestrian connections to the town centre.








Figure 6.6 Upper Mounts/ Great Russell Street Development Principles

CAAP Figure 6.6 v2

6.40        Spring Boroughs is currently the largest single residential area within the Central Area. The area contains a mixture of employment uses, a primary school, municipal car parks, a small amount of community facilities and local retailing. It also has one listed building and the Castle Mound, a remnant of the original Northampton Castle with associated archaeological remains.

6.41        The Council is the main land / property owner in the area, owning the majority of the housing. Little of the stock in this area has been bought through the ‘right to buy’ (only 16% of the properties are owned). There has been some recent significant investment in the housing stock of Spring Boroughs; the ‘New Life’ apartment blocks have been refurbished to provide housing of a high standard. However, much of the housing stock is still of poor quality and provides inadequate standards of amenity for local residents, including outdoor space.  Of the 647 Council owned properties, it is estimated 455 do not meet the nationally recognised Decent Homes Standard.  Without intervention a further 81 will become non- decent by 2015, and all of them will become non-decent after 2026.

 6.42        Spring Boroughs is recognised by Central Government as being one of the most deprived areas in the country. The area is in the top 5% nationally in terms of the Indices of Multiple Deprivation[7] .  Key issues are income deprivation, poor standards of education, lack of skills and training, crime, health problems and unemployment.  Spring Boroughs contains a higher percentage of 20-44 year olds, and elderly people than the Northampton average. There are also a high proportion of single households in this area; 60% compared with 30% in Northampton as a whole and 70% of people live in blocks of flats.

6.43       The area has an ethnically diverse population, with ethnic minorities forming a high proportion of the population. The area also has a strong network of community groups. It has been subject to a number of projects to address a variety of social issues over the years. The last such project was the CASPAR+NR project for which funding ended in March 2010.

6.44         Connections from Spring Boroughs to the rest of the Central Area are severed by the major roads of Horsemarket / Broad Street, St Andrew’s Road and Grafton Street >and the fact that there are no through routes.The need to address the poor quality of the Council’s housing stock, together with proposals for the rest of the Central Area provide an opportunity for the Council and its partners to work together with the community to fundamentally reassess the future of Spring Boroughs.  It is important to find radical solutions that seek to break the cycle of multiple deprivation that occurs in the area.

6.45           The need to address the poor quality of the Council’s housing stock, together with proposals for the rest of the Central Area provide an opportunity for the Council and its partners to work together with the community to fundamentally reassess the future of Spring Boroughs.  It is important to find radical solutions that seek to break the cycle of multiple deprivation that occurs in the area.

6.46         There has been a substantial shortfall in the ability to fund improvements to housing stock for a substantial number of years which is evident from the Council’s Housing Asset Management Strategy[8] .  It is clear that the types of solutions needed to improve the Council’s housing stock in the area cannot be delivered if methods previously used are used as a template for the future.

6.47         Within Spring Boroughs the Council has transferred some of its stock to a registered social landlord to regenerate and shows that alternative solutions are available. The Council as planning authority and landlord needs to take a realistic assessment of what is deliverable in the context of the current economic cycle.

6.48         To ensure that the regeneration of the area brings benefits to the population there has to be a significant level of community engagement and development of ownership to shaping its future. It is clear from representations received from the County Council and others that there are both real and perceived issues with the capacity of the existing social infrastructure in the area, for example, the primary school. This issue needs to be considered further, particularly if more family housing is to be provided in the area.

6.49         Using new powers within the Localism Act, the community of Spring Boroughs intend to produce a Neighbourhood Plan for the area. A successful bid was made to the Government in November 2011. It is envisaged that these new powers will provide a greater degree of community engagement in the regeneration process for the area, in addition to providing greater clarity as to how future regereration projects could be delivered in accordance with the policy.



7. Department for Communities and Local Government, The English Indices of deprivation (2007) [back]
8. Northampton Borough Council, Housing Asset Management Strategy (2010) [back]



Spring Boroughs will be regenerated in a manner consistent with the development principles set out in Figure 6.7 ‘Policy 24: Spring Boroughs Development Principles’ and the following priorities:

•       Encouraging a more balanced community in terms of: age, wealth, household size and reducing the turnover of residents, through to appropriate provision of housing management, housing types and tenures and access to necessary social and physical infrastructure.

•       The potential to incorporate a wider range of uses within the area, particularly increased employment opportunities, taking into account its location as an edge-of-town centre site and Castle Station.

•       Increase and improve the connectivity to the wider Central Area, particularly by direct pedestrian routes, for example, from Castle Station towards the Market Square.

•       Make provision for an urban school site to cater for a 2 form entry primary school.

•       Positively address the boundaries of the site with the adjoining major roads including the proposed change of Horsemarket to a boulevard.

•       Enhance the setting of the Castle Mound and Grade II listed Castle Hill United Reform Church.




Figure 6.7 Spring Boroughs Development Principles

Figure 6.7 v2 Spring Boroughs

6.50         The Waterside as its name would suggest, is based on the River Nene and its tributaries together with the Grand Union Canal and adjacent land.  It includes land running from an area adjacent to the Brampton Arm tributary of the River Nene (to the south of Castle Station), south and eastwards (to include Avon Nunn Mills and Becket’s Park, Midsummer Meadow and Barnes Meadow). 

6.51         As a whole, over the last 100 years or so, it is an area of Northampton that has not been addressed in the most positive manner. Northampton has somewhat turned its back on the river and canal. There has recently been some change through the redevelopment of former industrial buildings and the opportunities this brings.

6.52         The Waterside could be a real environmental asset providing sustainable opportunities for leisure, recreation, tourism development and enhanced ecology.  It can also bring elements of the surrounding countryside into the heart of Northampton adding another component in creating a real sense of place.

6.53         The natural features that exist alongside the River Nene will be enhanced for wildlife, while areas of derelict and underused land will be redeveloped with new buildings that overlook the river and create vitality. Additional areas of significant activity based around office, leisure and residential uses will be created and linked with enhanced open spaces through new and extended riverside paths providing continuous public routes along its length. Strong physical connections will be provided between The Waterside and the town centre, making the riverside more accessible.

6.54         The opportunities presented by the Waterside have been assessed in the most recent Waterside Masterplan[9] commissioned by West Northamptonshire Development Corporation.

6.55         The Action Plan seeks to set out the broad principles that will apply to the Waterside as a whole. In particular it outlines the strategic walking and cycling links along a green corridor.  It focuses on the opportunities that will arise through the development of specific sites identified over the period of the Plan, such sites include: the Brampton Branch St Peter’s Way, Southbridge, Becket’s Park and Avon / Nunn Mills/ Ransome Road and the Meadows. 

6.56         Taking into account the location of Waterside, the eastern section being 900 metres from the Upper Nene Valley Gravel Pits Special Protection Area, the Council will take into consideration the requirements set out in the Clifford Hill Management Plan.

6.57         The south-eastern part of Waterside lies within Northampton Battlefield, a designated heritage asset of the highest significance, which is included on The National Heritage List for England. The Battle of Northampton took place  in 1460 and was an important event in the continuing struggle for power as part of the “Wars of the Roses.”




9. David Lock Associates, Waterside Masterplan (2009) [back]


The Waterside will be transformed into a positive asset for Northampton, truly integrated into and forming a destination within the Central Area as a place in which to live, work and play. Development within and adjacent to the Waterside, together with other actions will deliver:


•       A mixture of areas that will have a higher intensity of use and activity, particularly close to the town centre; and those further towards the edges of the central area where it might be appropriate to have little or no activity.

•       Safe, continuous, high quality, public footpath/cycle network along and across the water’s edge.

•       An effective environmental and recreational link across and between the Central Area and the wider West Northamptonshire strategic green corridors.

•       Wherever possible create a more natural water’s edge and enhance biodiversity.

•       Opportunities for greater access to use the river and canal for a wide range of recreational purposes.

•       Opportunities to extend water courses into adjacent areas.

•       Buildings and spaces that overlook and positively address the water’s edge and surrounding frontages.

•       Development that does not compromise the performance offlood defences.

•       An environment with easier access to the water’s edge and low impact boating activities











6.58         The northern part of The Waterside running south of Castle Station contains a mixture of vacant cleared sites, small scale commercial, residential properties on Tanner Street, two substantial gas holders with associated plant and storage areas and part of a B&Q retail warehouse car park.  West Northamptonshire Development Corporation owns much of the freehold interests in this area, apart from the gasholder site, which is owned by National Grid, and a site owned by Capital and Provincial.

6.59         The area between Castle Station and B&Q has substantial constraints that currently limit the range of development possibilities. The current, most significant, constraints are the two operational gasholders, which have extensive development exclusion zones. These sites and adjacent areas will be opened up to development opportunities early in the plan period through the decommissioning of the gasholders. There will be the need to deal with contamination, access to the highway network and the risk of flooding.

6.60         The site will be primarily developed for offi ce uses, with an element of residential uses together with some ancillary retail and leisure. This is consistent with the need to attract more office employment to the Central Area.   However, it is also recognised that Carlsberg’s existing site is heavily constrained in providing the opportunity for the existing brewery to generate increased expansion/efficiency in its operation. The Council will support expansion of the brewery operation to adjacent land within the Waterside: Brampton Branch St Peter’s Way as an alternative to office development, subject to this not undermining the policy objective of securing economic growth within the area and the objective of providing greater and enhanced public access to the river bank.  In particular, it is considered that such an expansion must positively address the St Peter’s Way/Gas Street frontage which is regarded as a town centre gateway, by either providing office/complementary uses along this frontage, or providing sufficient land to ensure that its delivery will not be undermined by the expanded brewery operation. It is recognised that the removal of the gasholders and remediation of the contaminated land will be expensive. Therefore the mix of uses could be revisited if an approach becomes unviable after exhausting all of the potential routes for public subsidy (see Chapter 7. ‘Infrastructure, Delivery and Monitoring’).

6.61         Various points along the river could benefit from improvements to reverse their legacy of heavily engineered banks, particularly the area adjacent to Towcester Road. If it can be shown to not compromise the overall effectiveness of flood defences, it is desirable that this area should be softened to provide a more natural environment and easier access to the water’s edge.

The River Nene

The River Nene



Subject to more detailed site Flood Risk Assessments a comprehensive redevelopment at the Waterside: Brampton Branch St Peter’s Way will be consistent with the development principles set out in Figure 6.8 ‘Policy 26: The Waterside: Brampton branch St Peter’s Way Development Principles’, and in particular will provide:

•     A development primarily focused on commercial office floor space (up to43,000 square metres).

•     Up to 270 dwellings.

•     An extension to the brewery operation will be acceptable on part of the site. This is subject to appropriate boundary treatment to; protect the potential attractiveness and viability of offi ce development along the St Peter’s Way/Gas Street frontage; to realise the potential to enhance the waterfront; and to mitigate against harmful impacts on the living conditions or general amenities of neighbouring users.

•     A publicly accessible square adjacent to the river as a focal point for ancillary retailing, cafés, restaurants and bars. 

•     The retention and sensitive integration of the existing Victorian brick built former gas company building into the development.

 •     Improved pedestrian crossings over the inner ring road towards the town centre and Castle Station.

 •     Enhancements to the existing footbridge river crossings within Foot Meadow.

•     Positively addressing the crossing of Towcester Road for river path users. 

•     Development that assists in improving the character of the inner ring road in terms of townscape and as a pedestrian route.

 •     A landmark building on the gasholder site at the Gas Street roundabout reflecting the historic use of the site.

 •     Four storey development along the St Peter’s Way frontage.

 •     Up to six storey development on the landmark buildings located at both the gateways at the northern and southern extremes of the site.

 •     The provision of a public space consistent with Public Realm Implementation Framework.

 •     Reprovision of the existing green space on St Peter’s Way elsewhere within the development.

 •     Softening the heavily engineered banks of the river adjacent to towcester road to allow a more natural environment and provide easier access to the water’s edge.






Figure 6.8 The Waterside: Brampton Branch St Peter’s Way Development Principles

Figure 6.8 v2


6.62        The Southbridge West site comprises vacant land, bus depot, Carlsberg social club with small former dock area, two public houses and small-scale commercial operations. The Waterside Masterplan identified its potential as a gateway site. There is currently no public access along the water’s edge - an omission in what would otherwise be a continuous public footpath from Avon/ Nunn Mills to the Grand Union Canal to the west.

6.63        Other sites are more likely to be priority for the public sector in the short to medium term of this Plan period. Therefore, it is considered that the Plan should set out the broad principles for the site’s development. These would apply whether the site was developed comprehensively or incrementally over time.




Subject to a more detailed Flood Risk Assessment to adequately address the potential risk of developing behind existing flood defences; Southbridge will be developed in a manner consistent with the development principles set out in Figure 6.9 ‘Policy 27: The Waterside: Southbridge West Development Principles’ and will:

•     Be developed for leisure, residential or office use.

•     Ensure the continuation of the public footpath on the river’s edge through the site from the southbridge to the grand union canal lock.

•     Enhance the character of the existing historic building frontage along bridge street.

•     Retain and positively address the dock environment, provide easier access to the water’s edge and moorings for visiting boats.






Figure 6.9 The Waterside: Southbridge West Development Principles

Figure 6.90_V3 Southbridge



6.64         The Avon/ Nunn Mills/ Ransome Road site is an extensive area of vacant, derelict, under-used, previously developed land of approximately 41 hectares. Given its size and location, the area provides the opportunity to create a development that positively addresses the vision for the Central Area and the Waterside.  It will provide a substantial new residential community.  However, on the Avon / Nunn Mills site in particular, there is potential to accommodate substantial amounts of high quality office floor space, to mirror that of the new Avon European headquarters.

6.65        The site has been subject to a number of planning applications and more detailed master planning, both by the owners/ developers and West Northamptonshire Development Corporation in association with Northampton Borough Council and Northamptonshire County Council. The Avon/ Nunn Mills Strategic Development Framework[10] and subsequent master planning through the Avon/ Nunn Mills / Ransome Road Development Parameters[11] have informed the policies in this Plan. The Council will adopt a Supplementary Plan Document that takes forward the work undertaken for these documents.

6.66          The disused railway line that bi-sects this site brings a high degree of uncertainty surrounding the future of the site. The Council’s position on this line is clearly set out in the policy justification for Safeguarded Public Transport Route.  It looks increasingly likely that Network Rail will dispose of this land which will allow easier development of the site.  Nevertheless, the Avon/Nunn Mills/ Ransome Road Development Parameters retains flexibility in the layout until it is certain that at grade crossing can occur (see Policy 8 ‘Safeguarded Public Transport Route’). The future use of the line as a public transport corridor will allow at grade crossing, thus integrating the planned community.

6.67         The Avon / Nunn Mills site will be redeveloped with offices/ retail/ restaurants/ hotel and up to 1,250 dwellings. The Council regards the offices as necessary in bringing people back to work within the Central Area, together with the associated benefits for the centre’s vitality and viability. The site has good access to the strategic road network, a prestigious location overlooking the river and new marina and extensive parkland.  It would allow the provision of large plate or headquarters style offices similar to Avon as the site does not have the constraints of the more historic parts of the town centre.

6.68         In view of the economic and cultural importance of the University of Northampton and the attractiveness of the site in terms of its waterside location, mature landscaping and excellent pedestrian links to the town centre, educational use on part of the site would be acceptable in principle.

6.69         The commercial use will act as a gateway on either side of the entrance to the site on the river frontage, and provide approximately 16,000 square metres of office accommodation (excluding the existing Avon Headquarters). The site will also accommodate a primary school and retail / services to serve the new community in a local centre. Up to 800 dwellings will be provided on the Ransome Road site with leisure uses located at the edge of Delapre Lake.

6.70         Due to its location within the Central Area, it is anticipated that the site will be an average of 55 dwellings per hectare across Avon/ Nunn Mills/ Ransome Road.  Higher densities will be expected on the northern river’s edge of Avon/ Nunn Mills and along the main movement route through the site from Bedford Road to London Road.  Lower density development will be towards the edge of Delapre Park. Across both sites there will be a range of housing types to create a sustainable community. The proximity of the site to the town centre provides an opportunity for apartments and therefore a substantial number of dwellings. However it is anticipated that the development of this area will be predominantly family housing.

6.71         The area contains, and is adjacent to, buildings that vary in height between two and four storeys. It is envisaged that development will be of similar scale, although the position within the river valley would appear to be able to lend itself to some taller buildings, particularly along the river’s edge.

6.72         The Avon / Nunn Mills and Ransome Road sites sit within the context of a substantial amount of adjacent river valley open space and historic parkland. The Council will flexibly interpret its normal standards for the provision of on-site public open space, having regards to the location of the site and its ground conditions.  However, it should include a substantial green space corridor that will run through the development from Becket’s Park and the riverside through to Delapre Park in the south. The sites will be expected to link more fully into the surrounding open space and in lieu of on site provision of open space will be expected to make contributions towards delivering the visions in the Becket’s Park Masterplan[12]and the emerging Nene Meadows Masterplan[13] consistent with Policy 29 'The Waterside: Becket's Park' and Policy 30 'The Waterside: Nene Meadows'.

6.73         It will be necessary to create a new access corridor from Bedford Road to London Road to allow development of the sites to be completed. However this will not be designed to encourage through traffic seeking to by-pass the inner ring road. The nature and character of this route will be appropriate to a predominantly residential area.

6.74         Extensive works to increase flood attenuation capacity upstream, west of Upton Valley Way has been undertaken to allow the Avon / Nunn Mills/ Ransome Road developments to proceed.  Nevertheless, substantial parts of the site still sit within the historic floodplain.  This has to be satisfactorily addressed in the uses proposed, their location and the layout through site-specific flood risk assessments.

10. LDA Design, Avon/Nunn Mills Strategic Development Framework (2010) [back]
11. West Northamptonshire Development Corporation and Northampton Borough Council, Avon / Nunn Mills / Ransome Road Development Parameters (July, 2011) [back]
12. Halcrow, Becket's Park, Masterplan]  [back]
13. Nortoft, Nene Meadows Masterplan (2010) [back]


Avon/ Nunn Mills/ Ransome Road will be developed in a comprehensive and complementary manner to function as a single new community, consistent with the development principles shown in Figure 6.10 ‘Policy 28: Avon/ Nunn Mills/ Ransome Road Development Principles’. Further guidance will be provided in a Supplementary Planning Document for the site. Subject to site specifi c Flood Risk Assessments, development will:

•     Comprise up to 2,000 dwellings of a mix of sizes, types and tenures, although it is anticipated that  the majority of the site area will be family orientated housing.

•     Provide an overall average of 55 dwellings per hectare, but allow for a range in density related to appropriate character areas across the site.

•    Provide approximately 16,000 square metres of additional office floorspace to meet identified strategic employment requirements and as a gateway to the site along the river front, educational use connected with the University of Northampton would also be acceptable in principle.

•     Generally be two to four storeys in height, with the taller buildings facing along principal movement routes, the gateway and the river’s edge, although it is considered that without prejudice to the requirements of tall buildings, the opportunity for some taller landmark buildings exist appropriate to the location of the site.

•     The provision of a public space consistent with Public Realm Implementation Framework.

•       Deliver improvements to Becket’s Park and Nene Meadows consistent with Policy 29 ‘The Waterside: Becket’s Park’ and Policy 30 ‘The Waterside: Nene Meadows’ and also to Delapre Abbey and Park.

•     Include a new continuous street between Bedford Road and London Road designed not to encourage through traffic from the wider primary distributor network consistent with the predominantly residential character of the site.

•       Provide a new junction at Nunn Mills Road/ Bedford Road that create good townscape and give priority to pedestrian and cyclists consistent with the ambition of creating a walkable centre.

•       In the case of the new Nunn Mills Road/ Bedford Road junction have respect to historic integrity of Becket’s

•       Sensitively restore and provide a long term viable use for the Grade II listed former train workshop within an appropriate setting.

•       Include neighbourhood retail and commercial leisure facilities consistent with providing an attractive living and working environment.

 •       Make provision for a two form entry urban primary school, a community facility that can accommodate faith groups and a site for a pre-school nursery.

 •       Deliver a strategic green space corridor with associated footpaths and river crossings to effectively link, through the site, Becket’s Park and Delapre Park.

 •       Deliver a continuous riverside path that will link in with the existing footpath and cycleway networks and incorporate new pedestrian and cycleway river crossings to Midsummer and Barnes Meadows as defi ned in Figure 6.12 ‘Policy 30: The Waterside Nene Meadows Development Principles’.

•       Deliver improvements to Becket’s Park and Nene Meadows consistent with Policy 29 ‘The Waterside: Becket’s Park’ and Policy 30 ‘The Waterside: Nene Meadows’ and also to Delapre Abbey and Park. 

•     Include a new continuous street between Bedford Road and London Road designed not to encourage through traffi c from the wider primary distributor network consistent with the predominantly residential character of the site. 

•       Provide a new junction at Nunn Mills Road/ Bedford Road that create good townscape and give priority to pedestrian and cyclists consistent with the ambition of creating a walkable centre. 

•       In the case of the new Nunn Mills Road/ Bedford Road junction have respect to historic integrity of Becket’s

•       Include an extended electrical transformer site on Nunn Mills to consolidate existing dispersed facilities and fl ood resilience measures (including screening around it). 

•       Incorporate appropriate measures to mitigate against fl ood risk both within the area and downstream of the sites, particularly taking account of the role of Hardingstone Dyke. 

•       Encourage suitable access to Delapre Lake and Delapre Abbey and Park from Ransome Road and provide a commercial leisure facility such as a restaurant/ public house on the Delapre Lake edge of Ransome Road. 

•       Be designed to have enough flexibility to positively address the edges of, and crossing of, the existing disused railway line. 

•       Appropriately address the site’s location within and adjacent to the registered battlefi eld of the Battle of Northampton and also make an appropriate contribution to supporting its interpretation in the local area. 











Figure 6.10 Avon / Nunn Mills / Ransome Road Development Principles


Figure 6.10_P28_Avon

6.75         Becket’s Park is a traditional park adjacent to the River Nene that was initially designed for promenading in 1783.  It is bounded and crossed by formal tree lined avenues and contains some formal children’s play facilities, tennis courts and a small pavilion. As with many municipal parks it has suffered from a comparative lack of investment over the last 30 years or so. It is a park that many people pass through on their way to work in the morning or evening but otherwise it is currently underused. 

6.76          More recently the park has been the beneficiary of some substantial investment to create a new marina within a former boating lake. Taking account of its condition, its role as the town centre’s main formal park and the need for it to be a positive asset that would add to the town centre offer, the Council commissioned a Masterplan for the park in 2008.

6.77         The Masterplan outlined a strategy of investment to improve its quality, both in terms of the existing activities and infrastructure to improve its offer in the future. It recognised the strategic link the park has between the rejuvenated St John’s area with its links to the town centre and also the Avon/ Nunn Mills/ Ransome Road development with its links to Delapre Park and the rest of the Waterside. The Masterplan also recognised the need to generate more activity throughout the day and to make better use of the water, to make it feel more vibrant and safer. A key component of this is a restaurant/ café / leisure facility, with the ability to incorporate community / office space. In addition the park would incorporate more up-to-date facilities.

6.78         Enabling development of either housing or office would be placed along the western edge of the park. This would also assist in overlooking the link along this edge of the park between Avon/ Nunn Mills, the Marina and St John’s.

The new Marina management facility

The New Marina Management Facility







Policy 29: The Waterside: Becket's Park

Becket’s Park will be developed in a manner consistent with the development

Principles contained within Figure 6.11 ‘Policy 29: The Waterside: Becket’s Park Development Principles’ to enable it to perform its role as the pre-eminent formal town centre park. It will accommodate:

•      A building (up to 500 square metres)containing uses appropriate to therole of the park and its marina, such
as a café/restaurant/ retail/ bike hire/leisure opportunities, together with potential park warden accommodation
and office/ interpretation space.

• Enhanced pedestrian cycling routes throughout the park, but in particular along the eastern edge to provide the
strategic link between Avon/ Nunn Mills, the Marina and St John’s.

 • Additional facilities for activities that encourage greater use of the park and             the river including visitor moorings, access for canoes and other vessels.

• Enabling development of three to four storey housing or two to three storey office along its western edge with a frontage that positively overlooks the Park, replacing the former St John’s railway line embankment.







Figure 6.11 The Waterside : Becket's Park Development PrinciplesFigure 6.11_Beckte

6.79 There are two Meadows located in the south east corner of the Central Area known as Midsummer and Barnes Meadows. Midsummer Meadow is a mixture of parking, partly mowed grass and natural / semi natural space. Occasionally large-scale leisure events take place on this space such as circuses and fairs. Barnes Meadow is a nationally designated Local Nature Reserve; it is separated from Midsummer Meadow by the River Nene and the dead arm of the Nene.

6.80 The Nature Reserve straddles the river; part of the site has been transformed into a complex of permanent pools and seasonal wet scrapes, which are particularly attractive to wading birds and invertebrates including dragonflies. The rest provides important habitat for a variety of birds and other wildlife and is used for grazing local
cattle. Despite this attractive environment and prominent location the Meadows are currently underused.

6.81 In recognition of the increased population within the Central Area and the opportunities for funding from developments along the rest of the Waterside; the Borough Council and Northamptonshire Sports Facilities Management Group developed the Nene Meadows Masterplan. This Masterplan identifies the potential to create a strategic leisure and recreational facility, incorporating a wider area outside the Central Area boundary. It includes the Delapre Lake and adjoining area to the south and Nene White Water Centre; Northampton Rowing Club and the Northampton Casuals Rugby Club to the east.

6.82 The Masterplan recognises the importance of movement and accessibility. New footpaths, cycle ways and bridges are planned to improve connections between the sites and along the Waterside and linkages are made through Becket’s Park and up to the Town Centre and other routes lead towards Brackmills. Midsummer Meadow,
as a Gateway into the Central Area, will provide a hub of activities including play areas for a range of ages from the very young to the more mature. Event spaces are planned, a visitor centre, cycle hire and appropriate parking facilities. As a first phase of introducing greater activity to the area a skate park was completed in Summer 2012. Barnes Meadow will be conserved and enhanced by habitat improvements. The more sensitive areas will be protected but boardwalks and bird hides will enable visitors to share and enjoy this natural environment. Based on policies and proposals in the West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy on the River Nene Strategic Corridor, the
Council will adopt a Supplementary Planning Document that amplifies this policy. In the meantime the proposals for Midsummer Meadow are as set out below:


Policy 30: The Waterside: Nene Meadows

The Nene Meadows will become a strategic leisure and recreation destination and developed in a manner consistent with the development principles contained within Figure 6.12 ‘Policy 30: The Waterside Nene Meadows Development Principles’. It will:

  • Within Midsummer Meadow provide for a central activity hub with provision for a visitor centre, café and licensed bar facilities, changing facilities, hire facilities e.g. cycle, retail (up to 250 square metres) and an indoor activity area to accommodate play/ parties/ meeting rooms will be provided together with recreation and leisure facilities appropriate to the scale and location of the site.
  • Incorporate a comprehensive movement network of footpaths and cycleways to improve pedestrian and cycle accessibility around the site and to areas beyond.
  • Incorporate a river crossing, for pedestrians and cyclists, close to the A45 flyover, to join the separate sites of Barnes Meadow Local Nature Reserve and strengthen links through to Delapre Lake.
  • At Barnes Meadow Local Nature Reserve ensure appropriate management techniques are applied to maintain and improve the reserve’s status and improve public access and interpretation of the site, there appropriate, using boardwalks and bird hides.
  • Remoulding of the earth bund that runs along the edge of Bedford Road east of Cliftonville Road.
  • Provide a range of smaller scale interventions that increase the opportunities for leisure and recreation.
  • Ensure the appropriate management and interpretation of the Battle of Northampton.

Radlands Plaza (Skate Board and BMX)


Figure 6.12 The Waterside Nene Meadows Development Principles

Figure 6.12_The Waterside Nene Meadows Principlles_Update

6.83             The Market Square is a destination in its own right through its function as a market and event space. It is a major historical landmark and area of public space. It provides a unique opportunity for Northampton to differentiate its retail and leisure experience from competing out-of-town retail parks and other retail centres. Recent investment in the public realm and a programme of events at the Market Square should be used as a starting point for future improvement and investment. In terms of role and function, the Borough Council intends to maximise the potential offered by this asset, by encouraging more restaurants and cafés to invest in the properties fronting the Square.


Policy 31: Market Square

The Council will seek to establish leisure uses within the Market Square and enhance its function and appearance by:

  • Allowing more restaurants (A3) within the Market Square’s secondary frontages.
  • Not allowing the loss of restaurants (A3), unless it can be clearly demonstrated that the proposal will meet the council’s strategic objective for the Market Square.
  • Ensuring that proposals will complement and improve the quality of the public realm in line with Policy 3 ‘Public Realm’.
  • Ensure proposals respect or enhance the building design and character of the Market Square in line with Policy 1 ‘Promoting Design Excellence’.
  • Working with property owners and occupiers to improve the fabric and appearance of buildings.
  • Seeking to sustain and enhance the market square as a venue for the market and as an event space.

6.84           This site is bounded by Bradshaw Street and King Street on the north, St. Katherine’s gardens on the west, Drapery on the east and Jeyes Jetty on the south. It is bisected by College Street. It currently accommodates the Debenhams department store, associated car parking/ service area and other smaller retail, service, public house
and eating and drinking establishments.

6.85           There is a strong likelihood that some of the current occupiers of this area, Debenhams in particular, will relocate into the redeveloped Grosvenor Centre. This will provide an opportunity for the area to be redeveloped for additional comparison retailing floorspace of up to 17,000 square metres after the opening of the Grosvenor Centre extension. This floorspace will be more suited to retailers’ requirements, provide an extension to the primary shopping area and enhance the role of the Drapery as a primary shopping frontage. It can also create a better connection to and setting for the St. Katherine’s Gardens and the listed College Street Church.

Policy 32: Drapery

The Drapery will be regenerated in a manner consistent with the development principles contained within Figure 6.13 ‘Policy 32: Drapery Development Principles’. It will:

• Provide an extension to the Primary Shopping Area.

• Provide up to 17,000 square metres gross / 11,300 square metres net of comparison retail floorspace, together with associated eating establishments.

• Positively address and enhance the setting and use of St Katherine’s Gardens through appropriate uses and active frontages on the west of the development site.

• Reuse and restore historic buildings wherever possible and enhance the setting and make a feature of the listed College Street Church and also 41 Drapery.

• Have strong connections that promote movement to and from the former Fish Market and adjoining buildings site in their role as extensions to the Primary Shopping Area.

• Enhance Swan Yard and Jeyes Jetty through respecting their historic character whilst seeking to provide, attractive and safe links between Drapery and College Street.


Figure 6.13 Drapery Development Principles

Figure 6.13_P32_Drapery_Update

6.86           The Freeschool Street development site is situated between Castle Station and the town centre boundary. The northern part fronting Marefair is predominately Victorian in character whereas the southern part comprises a mixture of car repair workshops, car sales, business space, derelict land and highway. This piecemeal development of low-grade light industrial uses provides a poor quality environment. The land is also fragmented under several different landowners part of which is owned by the Borough Council and is currently used as surface level parking.

6.87           The surrounding environs of the site is characterised by a mix of uses. To the north Sol Central dominates the Victorian three storey terraces and to the west residential development forms a partial barrier to pedestrian movement between the site and St Peter’s Green. The inner ring road to the south and east also presents a significant obstacle to pedestrian access to the town centre and wider area.

6.88           The two operational gasholders’ adjacent to the ring road have extensive development exclusion zones and present a significant constraint for the southern part of the site. However, it is anticipated that the gasholders will be decommissioned early in the Plan period, which will open up the Freeschool site for development. The majority of the site is designated as a Scheduled Monument with only a small area without formal designation. Any development will have to protect and enhance the Scheduled Monument together with potential contamination issues and access to the highway network. The amount of development permissible on site will be dependent on assessment on impact on the Scheduled Monument.

6.89           Northampton Borough Council commissioned a Freeschool Street Masterplan[14] to assess the potential of the site. The site offers a significant opportunity to regenerate an unattractive and underperforming part of town. The proximity to the town centre and station provides an opportunity to deliver a high quality mixeduse development that focuses on increasing employment opportunities, improving pedestrian links and the overall quality of the environment.

14. Lathams, Freeschool Street Masterplan (2005) [back]


Policy 33: Freeschool Street

Freeschool Street will be regenerated in a manner consistent with the development principles contained within Figure 6.14 ‘Policy 33: Freeschool Street Development Principles’ and in particular will:

• Be developed in a comprehensive manner to provide a mixed use predominately office development approximately 2,500 square metres) with ancillary optional uses for small scale retail (maximum 250 square metres), restaurants and cafés at ground floor level along Marefair and residential development.

• Ensure that development takes account of and positively addresses the Scheduled Monument.

• Provide development that improves the character of the inner ring road in terms of townscape and creates a positive frontage along Marefair and St Peter’s Way and Horseshoe Street consistent with their future roles as boulevards.

• Generally be a maximum of four storeys in height and be sympathetic in its form to the topography of the site.

• Provide a building that positively addresses the corner of Horseshoe Street and Marefair.

• Rationalise the area dedicated to highway within the site.

• Not have parking in front of new development along St Peter’s Way and Horsemarket.

• Improve St Peter’s Green and pedestrian connections to the Waterside and the town centre.



Figure 6.14 Freeschool Street Development Principles

Figure 6.14_P33_Freeschool Update

6.90           The site is located on the northern edge of the Central Area boundary along the Barrack Road. The surrounding area is a mixture of uses including a school, residential, small industrial units and lowgrade retail. The site has been unused and largely vacant since it was damaged by fire in 2003.

6.91           The building dominates the area due to its bulk and design being inconsistent with the urban form in the adjacent Barrack Road Conservation Area. Nevertheless, its heavily reinforced construction means demolition may be unviable. On this basis, it is considered that it would probably best lend itself to either conversion for residential or business use.

6.92           Barrack Road acts as a barrier to pedestrian movement and will need to be addressed to improve access to the site from the wider area. Enhancements to Barrack Road frontage and the inclusion of soft landscaping will  help improve the external appearance of the building. The large flat roof presents an opportunity to promote biodiversity and improve air quality as a green roof, as would living walls. The Barrack Road Air Quality Management Area and existing vehicle access arrangements will need to be addressed if a greater intensity of use is promoted. However, associated changes to the highway should be consistent with enhancing the Barrack Road Conservation Area.


Policy 34: Former Royal Mail Sorting Office

The former Royal Mail Sorting Office will be:

  • Redeveloped or converted for business (B1) or residential use. Applications for other uses will be considered in accordance with other policies within the Development Plan.
  • Conform to the design principles outlined in Promoting Design Excellence and Green Infrastructure policies.
  • Provide improvements to pedestrian crossing along Barrack Road and enhance links to the town centre and Racecourse.
  • Create a positive frontage along Barrack road and incorporate opportunities to enhance the exterior of the building.
  • Incorporate appropriate vehicular access arrangements that are sympathetic in their design to the adjacent Barrack Road Conservation Area.

6.93           The site is located in the eastern part of the town centre and is currently occupied by a telephone exchange, offices and the former Citizens Advice Bureau. The surrounding area is predominately Victorian in character with a mixture of commercial and residential occupiers. The site is within the St Giles Conservation Area and is adjacent to a number of Grade II and locally listed buildings along St. Giles Street, Spring Gardens and Derngate.

6.94           The telephone exchange building dominates the area and is regarded as having a negative impact on the skyline of Northampton due to its height and monolithic appearance. Development of a more appropriate scale and form would be advantageous to the area together with improvements along the Spring Gardens frontage. This one-way street linking St Giles Street and Derngate would be the primary access to the site.

6.95           The northern edge of the site is adjacent to secondary retail frontage on St Giles Street. This provides an opportunity to redevelop the former Citizens Advice Bureau building and create an active frontage. Development will also need to be sympathetic to the conservation area and complement the adjacent listed buildings.


Policy 35: Telephone Exchange, Spring Gardens

The Telephone Exchange will be redeveloped and in particular will:

  • Deliver a mixed use development, comprising offices and other uses including residential.
  • Conform to the design principles outlined in Promoting Design Excellence, Tall Buildings and Green Infrastructure policies.
  • Accommodate offices/ retail at ground floor level on St Giles Street.
  • Provide vehicle access from spring gardens.
  • Improve the open space at St Giles Church.