Northampton Town Centre Masterplan

Client. Northampton Borough Council
Location. Northampton
Value & Size. Undisclosed
Service. Masterplanning / Branding / Graphics
Status. On-Going

Northampton Town Centre Masterplan

Client. Northampton Borough Council
Location. Northampton
Value & Size. Undisclosed
Service. Masterplanning / Branding / Graphics
Status. On-Going

In early 2019, 5plus architects were 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, 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. The Northampton Forward board includes; Northampton Borough Council; Northamptonshire County Council; Northants Police; Grosvenor Centre; Northampton Town Centre BID; University of Northampton; The Royal and Derngate Theatre; South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP); Tricker’s; and Northamptonshire Chamber. 5plus architects was responsible for developing a brand identity for Northampton Forward which is symbolised by heritage and progression, presented through the typography and colours used. The folding of the page is used graphically as a visual metaphor to ‘reveal’ proposals and initiatives to the public. 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. Each Quarter exhibits its own character and unique mix of uses, but adopts common urban design proposals to unify the town centre. These include a town centre movement network which incorporates active travel routes, the upgrading of public realm with increased soft landscaping to support biodiversity, the revival of key public open spaces, the application of imaginative uses for dormant ground floor frontages and the redevelopment of vacant or redundant sites with a focus on residential use.

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 October 2019 and has underpinned several building, urban design and landscape projects which have all emerged from the masterplan. For several of these projects 5plus architects 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 bid had been successful and funding was awarded to works associated with Market Square.

Initial Concept Sketch
Market Street
Greyfriars
Abington Street
Cultural Quarter
Marefair
Brand Toolkit for Masterplan Identity
Town Investment Plan Brochure
Public Consultation
Public Consultation
Concept Sketch of Greyfriars
Concept Sketch of Heritage Park
Concept Sketch of Marefair
Concept Visual of Waterloo House

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