Northampton Central Area Action Plan 2013


Appendix: B. Gateways: The Role and Function and Appropriate Design Solutions

 B.1    The Gateway sites have been identi- fi ed as important points on the routes into the Central Area. They will provide a sense of arrival giving a good fi rst impression of the Central Area. Gateways will also generally be major destinations or activity areas locat- ed at intersections and pathways, providing key points for people to gather. 

B.2      Gateways should include features that enhance the sense of place. Common characteristics will be to create landmarks whether that be through distinctive build- ings, perhaps of civic status, bridges, public art, the use of materials and lighting, key views and vista, distinctive landscaping and the built form. Those elements of the public realm in Gateway sites must be of the highest quality.


B.3     Six Gateway locations for Northampton Central Area have been identifi ed, taking into account existing and proposed developments and the functioning of the Central Area in the period to 2026.


The gateways are:







Black Lion Hill Gateway 

B.4   This gateway location is on the western entrance to the Central Area.  It includes the northern frontage of the Waterside Bramp- ton Branch St Peter’s Way site’s frontage  (off Green Street), Castle Station, the south west corner of Spring Boroughs, St Peter’s House and the space between. There is the opportunity to create a tighter, better defi ned space in this location giving a better sense  of arrival into a denser central urban environ- ment, and refl ecting the importance of this area historically as an entrance to Northampton’s centre. The desired approach in this area is to use buildings to create a greater sense of enclosure by bringing them closer to the road, particularly on the northern, southern and western sides. Whilst the eastern side is well defi ned by St Peter’s House, this could be improved by its eventual replacement by a building of high architectural quality that respects the set- ting of St Peter’s Church and the Scheduled Monument. Although there have been recent improvements to the public realm in this area through new road and pavement surface treatments, the space is of suffi cient size for a notable piece of public art or sculpture to add interest and give a memorable landmark.


Regent Square Gateway 

B.5     This site, a major crossing point be- tween two principal routes and around the Central Area is a gateway from the north to the Central Area. To a large extent it has lost its sense of place as a Square through a number of highway interventions.  It is for the most part poorly addressed by buildings. There is the opportunity to create a tighter, better defi ned space in this location giving a better sense of arrival into a denser central urban environment, and refl ecting the impor- tance of this area historically as an entrance to Northampton’s centre. 

B.6     The desired approach in this area is to use buildings to create a greater sense of enclosure by bringing them closer to the road, particularly on the northern, southern a strong feature to give a distinctive visual and cultural impact to visitors. The tip of the triangle block on Sheep Street/ Broad Street can have distinctive public art or building frontage as a landmark, which has historic meaning in the local context and creative lighting at night. 


B.7    Bringing buildings closer to the edge of the pavement on the north east side (Barrack Road/ Campbell Street) and on the south west (Grafton Street/ Broad Street) will create a sense of enclosure. Significant improvement of the overall public realm is fundamental to enhance this Gateway location. The junction needs to be dramatically improved to make it more accessible and welcoming to pedestrians and cyclists.

Abington Square Gateway 

B.8      Abington Square is a major access and gateway into the Northampton Central Area from the east. This area like other gateways has also had a number of highway interventions that have had an adverse impact on its character and reduced its sense of place, creating an area with a disjointed feel which is not assisted by the poor quality of public realm. 

B.9     There are signifi cant elements that could be used to enhance this Gateway. There are large amounts of public space at this site, particularly within the triangle island, such as the Garden of Rest and green open space surrounding the former Unitarian Chapel. There are historic buildings that add local distinctiveness and identity to the site such as the former Unitarian Chapel, 16-28 Wellingborough Road and the Bradlaugh Monument.

B.10 Changing the character of this area from a busy traffi c island to an attractive pedestrian focused public space will be integral to making this place a successful gateway site. In the longer term (at the earli- est likely to be towards the end of this Area Action Plan’s end date) rationalisation of the highway space and better pedestrian access to a larger central island which could either accommodate better quality open space, or new buildings with activities that add vitality to the square, or a mixture of both would be beneficial

B.11     All edges should provide a consistent building line to create a continuity of frontage and enclosure. Improvement of accessibility to Abington Street is also essential and could involve clearing street clutter such as railings, unnecessary signage, road markings and street furniture at the junction of Abington Street and Lower Mounts.  It is vital to improve the crossing arrangement at this junction.



Meadows Gateway 

B.12     The Meadows Gateway is on the south eastern approach to the town along the Bedford Road. It’s currently primarily open on the southern side, with the exception of the sewerage pumping station and the bund along Bedford Road. The northern side is predominantly car showrooms and some offi ce set back from the road, either behind green space, or car parking.

B.13    There is the probability that the Mead- ows will contain more built development, which together with a more consistent build- ing line provided in the Nunn Mills develop- ment will create a new built edge on this entrance to the Central Area.  On this Gate- way, there is the opportunity to create a more consistent entry approach to Northampton, by bringing buildings closer to the highway, but maintaining a green feel by putting 10 metres of green space in front of buildings and reintroducing the avenue planting within the highway where this has been lost.



Bridge Street South Gateway 

B.14    This Gateway is marked by the build- ing line drawing in towards the back of the pavement creating a visual pinch point be- fore crossing the Southbridge where the views widen out. This should be consoli- dated in any redevelopment of Southbridge West by maintaining the building line on the west side of Cotton End.

Waterside West Gateway 

B.15   This gateway site is located in the middle of Waterside West development. It will have a large scale comprehensive offi ce led mixed-use hub development with some public space on the right, and a high quality waterside residential led mixed-use develop- ment on the left. These developments must be high quality and distinctive and their built form should contribute to the Waterside West Gateway. Landscape features such as the river with strong building frontage, bridge and improved Foot Meadow Parkland street planting also help enhance this Gateway function. There should be some landmark buildings especially at Towcester Road which should have a good design to enhance the existing key view of St Peters Church and the Green from the bridge. The existing old brick building at St Peter’s Way should be retained and integrated into new develop- ments. This Gateway will provide a very good impression of Northampton providing strong employment opportunities, quality living space with high quality offi ce and residential development, open space and cultural dis- tinctiveness. More details can be found in the site specifi c policy, Policy 26 ‘The Waterside: Brampton Branch St Peter’s Way’