Northampton Borough Council
Programme: Jan 2019 - Ongoing
Service: Masterplanning, Graphics & Branding
In early 2019, 5plus architects was appointed to prepare a high level town centre masterplan study of Northampton on behalf of Northampton Borough Council. The commissioning of the study was triggered in part by the announcement of the Government’s Future High Street Fund (FHSF), a £675 million capital fund to support the nation’s high streets as they struggle to adapt to changing retail habits. The high level masterplan study identified a range of development, infrastructure and urban design opportunities which responded to matters of urban renewal, adaptive change of use and improved connectivity throughout the town centre area. This comprehensive scope of interventions established a vision for the town centre and formed the council’s initial expression of interest to the Future High Street Fund.
Following the successful short-listing of the council’s bid in July 2019, 5plus architects received a further commission to develop a detailed masterplan for the town centre, building on the themes established in the earlier study. Extensive consultation of the vision established by the high level masterplan was undertaken to commence this next phase to the masterplan. Engagement with the community was managed by the council through a series of events hosted at different venues around the town centre and an online survey to document formal feedback. 5plus architects also regularly met with Northampton Forward; a board of key stakeholders committed to establishing a strategic programme of improvements for the town. 5plus architects was also responsible for developing a brand identity for Northampton Forward which is symbolised by heritage and progression, presented through the typography and colours used. The brand identity has since been used to publicise and communication all of the announcements relating to the masterplan and accompanied works.
The detailed masterplan itself used our earlier analysis of the town centre to develop a set of design principles geared towards consolidation of the retail core, growth in density, and improved connectivity. These design principles seek to revitalise the town centre with a comprehensive rejuvenation and expansion of existing residential, leisure, employment and cultural uses. Through a holistic approach, these will work to stabilise the ecosystem of the town centre and reposition, once again, Northampton as a key destination and urban centre of the wider county. Our design proposals were developed to consider five quarters within and on the fringe of the town centre: Market Square, Greyfriars, Abington Street, The Cultural Quarter and Marefair.
Interventions such as remodelling of Market Square and its historic market, and development of the now redundant BHS and M&S retail units are intended to enhance the town centre’s offer to visitors and inhabitants alike. They seek to inspire social interaction and gatherings that will see people use and enjoy the town centre for longer, enriching the life of the town centre to create a welcoming, vibrant and uniquely Northampton experience for all.
The detailed masterplan was published in late 2019 and has underpinned several building, urban design and landscape projects which have all emerged from the masterplan. For several of these projects we were appointed as part of a wider design team, and the design proposals have gone on to form strategic business cases and investment plan bids via Northampton Borough Council to both the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government’s Future High Street Fund and Stronger Towns Fund. It was announced in December 2020 that the council’s Future High Street Fund FHSF bid had been successful and funding was awarded to works associated with Market Square.
Northampton Town Investment Plan