Northampton Central Area Action Plan 2013



Looking North up Bridge Street

Appendix: A. Character Areas Related to Policy 1:


Promoting Design Excellence

A.1  Each of these character area aspirations can be cross referenced to the sites specific CAAP policies.


Figure A.1 The 10 Central Area Character Areas

Appendix A1




Character Area 1: The Brewery District

Character 2010: Despite being located a short distance from the historic and retail heart of Northampton, the Brewery District currently feels isolated and disconnected from the town centre due to the severance provided by St Peters Way. The River Nene is the centrepiece of the character area with the mixture of built development responding to its presence but not always exploiting the benefi ts of being at a riverside location. Key landmarks in The Brewery district which aid navigation around the area are the Carlsberg Brewery and the Gas Holders on either side of Towcester Road. 

Design Aspirations: New development should promote The Brewery District as a place to work, live and visit, which is well linked to and complements the overall offer within the town centre boundary. Development should enhance movement north towards the town centre and Castle Station. Proposals should also look to fully exploit the potential of the River Nene as a location for mixed use development and seek to provide active frontage onto the River. A finer grain of development more typical of Northampton’s heritage is more appropriate and will allow more permeability through the area.

Character Area 2: Avon  

Character 2010:  The River Nene and the greenery of Becket’s Park and the Meadows are defi ning characteristics of the Avon char- acter area. Avon’s European headquarters, the redbrick former power station facade and Becket’s Park Marina provide a striking gateway to the character area from the north along the historic Nunn Mills Road. With the exception of Avon’s Offi ce Headquarters, for the most part the Avon/ Nunn Mills/ Ransome Road, development sites currently lie derelict or underused. Key to the successful redevel- opment of these sites and the permeability of the character area is resolving movement north - south over the currently safeguarded railway line. 

Design aspirations:   Development propos- als should incorporate a mix of uses includ- ing residential and commercial. Residential development should be built to the highest of standards at an appropriate density. Improving pedestrian and vehicular links within the character area and also north towards the town centre should be key considerations in any development proposals. A suitable level of active building frontage needs to be provided onto Delapre Lake and Delapre Conservation Area in order for people to be able to more fully appreciate the area’s natural and historic assets.

Character Area 3:Cliftonville Character 2010         Cliftonville is a small

parcel of fragmented development in the Central Area, fragmented in terms of building design, built form, grain and use mix. Development of individual parcels in an uncoordinated manner has been to the detriment of the area’s character, legibility and permeability. The signifi cant level changes and lack of north - south permeability provide challenges for any future development. 


Design aspirations:  The Council will seek to establish a clear vision for the area through encouraging key landowners such as the hospital to develop a comprehensive Masterplan to reduce the piecemeal ap- proach to the area. To strengthen the arrival into the Central Area from the east, new


development along the Bedford Road should have strong active frontage and provide a memorable gateway into the town.


Character Area 4:Spring Boroughs Character 2010:        

Spring  Boroughs is characterised by post war municipal housing. Housing types in Spring Boroughs include high-rise fl ats, deck access fl ats and newer modern apartment buildings fronting Broad Street. Spring Boroughs is in a strategically important location directly affecting east-west movement between the historic and retail centre of Northampton and one of Northampton’s major transport hubs, Castle Station.  

Design aspirations:   Community involvement is of paramount importance in delivering the successful regeneration of Spring Boroughs. Involving the community at early stages of formulating development proposals will create a sense of community ownership over this important regeneration scheme. As well as providing new housing, development proposals should look to incorporate clear east-west links through Spring Boroughs and beyond to the station and town centre by reducing the severance currently provided by Horsemarket and Broad Street, and removing existing subways.

Character Area 5: Castle Station 

Character 2010:  The defi ning feature of the character area is Castle Station, a major transport hub for Northampton and consequently an important, if currently understated, gateway to the town. The boundary of the character area to the east, St Andrews Road, is fi rmly established to the detriment of how the area connects with the heart of Northampton to the east. Remnants of Northampton’s Castle remain in the south east corner of the character area and are provided protection through designation as a Scheduled Monument. 

Design aspirations:   Redevelopment of Castle Station should provide an iconic and attractive gateway to Northampton, which sensitively manages the environment around the Scheduled Monument. New development should seek to promote a high intensity use of the site and investigate the opportunity to build to a ‘tall building’. Active building front- age should be provided on Black Lion Hill and St Andrews Road. Appropriately manag- ing the change of levels between the Spring Boroughs and Castle station will be a key design challenge for development proposals.

Character Area 6 : Grafton Street Character 2010: 

 The Grafton Street character area contains the northern gateway to the Central Area along Barrack Road towards Regent Square. The character area is fragmented in terms of built form and the mix of uses within it. Fine grain residen- tial dwellings line the western side of Barrack Road which are in contrast with the larger commercial fl oor plates at Quorn Way and the former Post Offi ce further north along Barrack Road.

Design aspirations:   New development should be of a fi ner grain more akin to that of the dwellings lining Barrack Road.

Proposals should ensure strong active frontage is provided around Regent Square to reinforce the northern gateway to the Central Area. Measures should also be taken to reconnect the Grafton Street area with Castle Station and Greyfriars through improving the clarity and quality of pedestrian routes.




Character Area 7:Upper Mounts Character 2010:  

 Upper Mounts hosts arange of architectural styles, the Locally Listed civic buildings fronting Campbell Street/Upper Mounts are a unique characteristic of the Northampton’s Central Area. The character area is further enriched by a number of Grade II Listed Buildings

at St Michael’s Road and around Abington Square. Upper Mounts itself forms part of the inner ring road and severs north-south movement between Northampton’s town centre and residential areas to the north. 

Design aspirations: Future development should look to celebrate the civic character and complement the Statutory Listed and Locally Listed buildings within the Upper Mounts character area. A strong building line and continuity of frontages should be promoted along Upper and Lower Mounts and around Abington Square to reinforce the western gateway to Northampton.

Character Area 8:St John’s 

Character 2010:   -The mix-used nature of the St John’s character area is mirrored by the fragmented urban grain currently in the area; pockets of fi ner grain buildings provide obvious movement patterns, refl ecting tradi- tional streets. ‘Out of town’ style retail ware- houses at St Peter’s Way and modern devel- opment such as The Pinnacle hamper north to south movement through St John’s and fail to complement the urban grain and built form in the neighbouring Historic Core. Statutory Listed and Locally Listed buildings and the encroachment of All Saints and Derngate Conservation Area’s into St John’s positively contribute to overall character of the area. 


Design aspirations:  Proposals for the development of a mix-used quarter for St John’s based around arts, culture and employment should adopt a sensitive approach to design by respecting the surrounding historic townscape. This includes enhancing views of All Saints Church to the north and wider views of Northampton’s historic skyline. The design of a new quarter should incorporate a new activity area for the Central Area by creating a well defi ned public open space. Proposals for new development should also look to improve the north-south permeability through the character area and provide strong frontage onto St Peter’s Way.


Character Area 9: Historic Core Character 2010:

The Historic Core character area forms the historic heart of Northampton. Small building plot sizes, fi ner grain streets, high quality built form, and a high density of Statutory Listed Buildings, Locally Listed Buildings and Scheduled Monuments are all features which capture the true character of the Historic Core and Northampton. Three of the Central Area’s Conservation Areas, Derngate, All Saints and St Giles all fall within the Historic Core 

Design aspirations: Development proposals should be well designed and imaginative whilst still respecting and taking positive cues from the appearance and setting of designated heritage assets within the Historic Core. The expected rate of change and regeneration throughout Northampton’s Central Area between now and 2026 should look to complement and enhance the rich historic environment within the Historic Core. Proposals for public realm improvements should look to use a complementary palette of materials and reduce clutter, particularly around streets in the designated retail circuit.

Character Area 10:Greyfriars

 Character 2010:   The Greyfriars character area is dominated by large scale and coarse 1970’s buildings. These have a direct impact on the permeability of the character area

and the wider skyline of Northampton. Bulky buildings such as Greyfriars Bus Station, the Grosvenor Shopping Centre and the Park Inn hotel are currently obstacles to north-south movement. They also cause severance between the Historic Core and northern end of Sheep Street, which falls within the Holy Sepulchre Conservation Area. Abington Street provides a high volume of pedestrian activity being the main outdoor retail pitch in the Central Area, car parking to the north of Abington Street hampers easy pedestrian movement to residential areas in Upper Mounts.


Design aspirations:

Retail expansion should be built to an appropriate scale to accommodate the needs of the Central Area. The design of proposals should be of a high standard in order to promote a positive identity for the Central Area. The street layout and design of future development should look to complement and take positive cues from the fi ne grain nature of Sheep Street to the north and the Historic Core character area. Proposals should also look to increase north- south permeability and the legibility of routes between Upper Mounts and the Historic Core.  Development should provide active frontage at ground fl oor level onto existing streets such as Sheep Street and new streets incorporated into the design proposals.