Councillors are set to approve plans to spend £3 million reopening the top of Northampton’s main shopping street to traffic.
The plans to reopen part of Abington Street, between Wellington Street and St Giles Terrace, were first mooted in the Conservatives’ election manifesto in 2011.
The ruling Tories at Northampton Borough Council confirmed their intention to proceed with the plan in September, and have now revealed the cost in a report which recommends the scheme for approval.
The cabinet papers say the scheme will be funded by “capital receipts and prudential borrowing,” which will cost the authority £300,000 a year over 20 years. It also says there is the risk that the project may be overspent.
The council says work will start in the current financial year, as part of “progressing the regeneration” of the town centre.
The report, which will be considered by cabinet members tomorrow night, says: “There are some key anchor stores on the northern end of Abington Street, which are responsible for generating a significant amount of the area’s footfall.
“Although the number of vacant units is not out of the ordinary, there are a few vacant units in prominent locations.
“The central area action plan identifies Abington Street as a key priority for public realm improvements in the town centre. The street was closed to traffic and pedestrianised in the early 1990s following an experimental period of vehicle prohibition.
“The area is surfaced with modular brick paving and the materials have not weathered well, and have a tired look which does nothing to support the overall appearance of the area.”
The proposals would see one-way traffic movement from the junction of St Giles Terrace and Dychurch Lane, north along St Giles Terrace, west along Abington Street and north along Wellington Street
There would also be public realm improvement works in Lower Mounts, Wellington Street and St Giles Terrace, and the Francis Crick sculpture would be relocated.