Northampton Central Area Action Plan 2013


Appendix: C. Street / Movement Corridor Typologies within the Public Realm Implementation Framework (2007)

The Cross: Priority Streets 

C.1     This historic cross has been identifi ed as having the most important streets in rela- tion to their function and use in the Central Area and is to be reinforced as part of the strong identity of Northampton. The aim is to create a primary street design approach that will tie the two major axes of the town

together. This will be achieved by applying a style that relates to the rich cultural heritage and activity associated with these important primary routes. The design should respond to the strong symmetry and linear perspec- tive of the Cross. This will be achieved by straightening pavement lines, positioning trees, lighting and other street furniture in formal rows, and widening footpaths to

allow for more generous footfall allowing clear sight lines along the street. The paving can enhance and balance out the detail and intricacies of the architectural facades, with a timeless, simple and elegant paving

solution. Footway paving along Priority Streets should take precedence and go across minor vehicle crossovers with a primary palette of materials.

The Cross: Secondary Streets 

C.2    Outside the primary areas, these arms of the cross will continue the theme within

a palette that is secondary to the principal streets. The treatment and layout of pavements, kerbs and drainage channels will match that of the priority streets. These consist of natural stone materials. The carriageway along secondary streets will have a surface dressing of tarmac.

Historic Streets 

C.3   These routes contain historic referenc- es to the past, have an intrinsic charm, and provide links to undiscovered parts of North- ampton. As many of these streets are within protected conservation areas, there is more importance placed upon a need to treasure and enhance the historical character that bestows their charm. Together these streets provide the secondary tier of connecting routes around the town. Streets are distin- guished from lanes and alleys by their width. Within the classifi cation of historic streets, two streets in particular have been identifi ed as Priority Streets. These streets retain the strong heritage characteristics defi ned by ex- isting surfaces, location, use or impact upon by street facades of the built form therefore applying a Palette Zone One treatment is required. Non-priority historic streets tend to follow a width varying between 5 and 12 me- tres. Historic streets are usually wide enough to incorporate a traditional approach of a car- riageway supported by pavements.

Historic Alleys 

C.4    This network of narrow lanes and al- leys, many of which still have original tradi- tional materials are key to providing a strong sense of connectivity throughout the town. Technically these tend not to exceed a width of 5 metres. They should be paved edge to edge in the appropriate uniform material. If a lane is to be accessed by vehicles then the carriageway should be incorporated into the footway, so as not compromise the layout of the traditional lane pattern. Wall mounted street lights and signs should be used along these narrow routes.

Priority Retail Street 

C.5    Abington Street has been identifi ed as a Priority Street, due to its signifi cant role as Northampton’s primary external retail corridor. The public realm approach to this street is to provide accentuation of key build- ings, reinforce cross links to St Giles Street, particularly along Fish Street, and reinforce links to the internal shopping arcades such as the Grosvenor Centre and the Ridings. It will help to unite the shopping experience and help to take the centre of gravity to the Market Square. The scale ratio of Abington Street is extremely wide and therefore there is an opportunity to break this down by creat- ing different movement zones for commercial or more passive activities.  Introduction of street trees as well as temporary landscape solutions will help to add colour and anima- tion to the street and break down the scale of the street. A greening strategy for Abing- ton Street will introduce colour, interest and detail and will invigorate and soften an other- wise hard environment.

Retail Arcades 

C.6    The Arcades are internal, covered or semi-covered streets linking the main shop- ping circuits. These are important interfaces with the external environment and provide critical connections to the retail circuits around Northampton.

Access & Service Roads 

C.7     Small access routes and service areas across the town centre should be improved as these routes provide an additional layer of permeability across the town. These streets are similar to historic lanes and alleys in scale but are distinguished separately by function, such as access to car parks and rear properties for servicing. As a result, de- sign should respect the qualities and consist- ency of the adjacent historic environs, especially where these streets stem from priority streets they should be complementary in the design. The units should be of the same material in a smaller size to refl ect the reduced extent of the street. A palette of improvements including resurfacing, lighting, signage, and tidying up rear service yards would be proposed.




Principal Georgian Boulevard 

C.8  The treatment of Derngate is distinct in that it relates closely with the predominantly Georgian style properties fronting the street. It can establish a greater sense of arrival by creating strong and distinct avenue into the town centre. The aim will be to maximise the impact of this transport corridor in order to create a unifying image and attractive ‘front door’ into Northampton.

Georgian Residential

 C.10   These streets are defined by the residential properties found within the distinctly Georgian Character Area. Many are served from Derngate, the main arterial spine. The proposals aim to create a pedestrian friendly environment along these residential streets and courtyards within the residential communities. The proposals will also aim to enhance the series of well used, overlooked and safe garden courts that in- tegrate parking, access and pedestrian use. Within such places, a shared space type approach should be adopted. Along traditional streets proposals should include narrowing carriageways to allow better public realm treatments along footways and maximise opportunity for tree planting but trees should only be planted where the scale and width of the street is appropriate.


Living Streets 

C.11    Living Streets will be the principal connecting streets within Spring Boroughs Residential District, and also from/to the town centre linking visually and physically by ‘greened’ avenues. Using street improvements, overlaying recreational aspects, improving crossings and supplying public open spaces along linear route serving the pedestrian environment will help to reinforce the concept of Walkable neighbourhoods as aspired to in the Manual for Streets. Trees lining the improved routes will provide continuous pedestrian links through the area and across Horse Market and Mayor Hold, guiding locals and visitors into the town centre. Specifi c consideration should be given to pedestrian crossing facilities that closely refl ect desire lines. This will involve the re-organising of the street layout, such as removal of islands, and surplus lanes to create a much more compact junction that allows for greater distribution of pedestrian footfall.

Internal Boulevards 

C.12  These routes are identifi ed as important linking elements in the town. The concept will be to draw out the character of the tree lined boulevard along Victoria Promenade and take the green theme through in the form of tree lined boulevards, low hedges and grass. These important linking routes will become the subject of a comprehensive package of environmental enhancements comprising boulevard landscaping, enhanced signage, lighting and public art in line with the reduction of carriageways and dedicated pedestrian crossings. A surface treatment that provides extended space to pedestrians will be implemented along these routes, providing for a safe and pleasant stroll under a canopy of trees.

External Boulevards 

C.13     These Boulevards will extend the notional promenade around the town through a wide, landscaped walkway that will connect the town centre to its close hinterland. They are required to support the highest volume of traffic which encompasses Northampton centre and as such have been design at a large scale enabling scope for extensive tree planting lining many of the routes. These streets will be designed to reduce the impact of the vehicle on the public realm by softening the space with trees and planting where appropriate. Grass will be used on verges to provide a soft buffer offering protection to the pedestrian and retaining open views. In addition, there are key gateways along these routes providing important access points when approaching Northampton centre, therefore the routes will have an important contribution to make in terms of creating a first impression of Northampton.




Market Square

C.14     This unique civic space, Market Square, will be re-defined as the largest Market Square in England. The image of the Market Square can be articulated through high quality design to include ‘The Drapery’, ’Mercers Row’, ‘George Row’ and ‘Wood Hill’ both in visual terms and through the function of the street. By re-establishing the boundary of the Market Square and facilitating a more sociable and ‘visitor/ shopper’ friendly streetscene with high environmental quality, the design of the Market Square can begin to function as a primary destination for shopping and entertainment. The public realm will be created to support the use of Markets and fairs, on the former locations of Mercer’s Row, George Row and Drapery. The existing Market Square will become an important open, flexible civic space with a design approach that celebrates its scale and stature. This can be achieved by creating a ‘Shared Use’ environment comprising a form of traffic calming that in contrast to more conventional methods, balances highway engineering with stimulating design which will improve a pedestrian priority. Being at the heart of the town, the quality of materials should be of the highest quality natural stone.

Influential Public Realm Space (existing) 

C.15  Town spaces: There are a number of open spaces with hard and soft spaces have been identified for improvement within the town centre the material palette zone applies. It will be the innovative design approaches that will reinforce the distinct identity of these spaces from the connecting streets.


C.16     Gateways: The distinctive image of the town for the visitor will be established at the key gateways to the town. The use of public realm projects, in some cases associated with other development and corridor improvements programmes will reinforce the sense of arrival into the town and lessen the impact of the ring road by re-establishing the hierarchy of direction and use. These public realm projects should draw on the energy of the gateway spaces, pointing to the dynamic and distinctive character of the town centre. Future proposals will ensure that these gateway spaces are rationalised by improvements to the highway layout, to create a greater provision of pedestrian space in the form of wider footpaths and public spaces, seamless crossing arrangements and a platform for the introduction of public art.

Table C.1 Public Realm Palette Zones


Palette Zone 1

Palette Zone 2

Palette Zone  3           


Market Square


Priority Arms of the Cross

Priority Retail Street Other Priority Streets

within the Historic Core

All areas in the Historic Core, excluding those identifi ed within Palette Zone 1, and west of the Horse Market

Georgian Quarter Church of the

Holy Sepulchre

Conservation Area, excluding areas within Palette Zone 1


Secondary Arms of the Cross


Grosvenor Centre Extension

All External and Internal Boulevards


Spring Boroughs Residential Business and Leisure District


Residential Areas south of Marefair Gas Street Roundabout car parks


To be paved in Yorkstone

To be paved in Yorkstone

To be paved in manufactured stone aggregate products to compliment natural stone in colour tones or black asphalt as determined by the implementation framework.


Mid Grey Granite

Mid Grey Granite

Mid Grey Granite

Channel Blocks

Pink Granite

Pink Granite

Pink Granite


Mid Grey Granite Blocks

Black Asphalt

Black Asphalt

Street Furniture (see

also Page 198 of Public

Realm Implementation


Northampton Brand


Northampton Brand


A Standard Range (as described in

the Public Realm Implementation


Table C.1 Public Realm Palette Zones


Palette Zone 1

Palette Zone 2

 Palette Zone 3                               


(See also the Lighting Strategy contained within the Public Realm Implementation Framework)

Highest quality equipment with the highest quality of light source. Streets with narrow footways should be lit from building mounted lighting wherever possible. Bespoke lighting solutions will be required in streets of Special Character including the use of additional feature lighting.

A high quality lighting solution is proposed within the Lighting Strategy. In areas where traditional lighting equipment brings added value to the street they should be protected and subtly supported with a base light without adding additional clutter or extra columns to the street.

Many of the approach roads into the town will have consistency and a distinct style of equipment to mark a clear identity for Northampton.                                    


There is limited scope for tree planting within Palette Zone 1. The highest standard of street tree must be carefully considered and executed to protect the visual quality of the architectural heritage as well as ensuring that the planting survives.

Tree planting should be included where possible. Larger species should be considered on main approach roads with medium sized species on other routes.

The highest standard of street tree planting is required. Larger

species should be considered along boulevard type streets.

Public Art

Sensitive and responsive art will be overlaid on the streets according to the Art Strategy.

Sensitive and responsive art will be overlaid on the streets according to the Art Strategy contained within the Public Realm Implementation Framework.

The sensitive incorporation of public art into road corridors and gateways is encouraged.