Northampton's Racecourse park will be made "friendlier" for the school run by neighborhood plan, councillor says

Councillor Birch described the Barrack Road end of the Racecourse as "gloomy, threatening and anti-social".
Councillor Birch described the Barrack Road end of the Racecourse as "gloomy, threatening and anti-social".

A neighbourhood plan has been created to bring an end to the "gloomy, threatening and anti-social feel" of Northampton's Racecourse park.

Northampton Borough Councillors for the Semilong and Trinity areas have produced the plan ahead of the "huge expansion" of school places and housing in the area and hope to make it a "friendlier place to walk or cycle to school in".

The Semilong and Trinity neighbourhood plan has been created to support the expansion of school places in Northampton.

The Semilong and Trinity neighbourhood plan has been created to support the expansion of school places in Northampton.

It comes ahead of the scheduled completion of the 450-place Northampton International Academy, in Mill Road, in 2018, and a plan to build up to 200 dwellings on the site of the University of Northampton Avenue Campus, in St Geroges's Avenue, after it moves its faculties to a new site in Cotton End.

Ward councillor for Trinity Jane Birch said: "The air quality on Barrack Road is dreadful. We could see 4,500 students of all ages in our area within 10 years. We want to encourage families to cycle and walk to school. But the area can't support that at the moment and families are more likely to drive.

"The Barrack Road end of the Racecourse is gloomy, threatening and beset with anti-social behaviour. There's just a feel to it. With the neighbourhood plan, we can look at making it a friendlier place to support the school run and our pupils.

"The air quality in Barrack Road is dreadful and there will be a huge expansion of schools and dwellings around it soon. The neighbourhood plan has been created to support this area's future."

Neighbourhood plans were introduced in 2014 by the Government to give residents more of a say over their local area.

The plan could be used to plant up the Barrack Road end of the Racecourse with flowers, raise the canopy of the trees to let light in and install more street lighting.

Councillor Birch said: "We want to support Semilong, the Racecourse and the future residents on the site of St George's Avenue campus in the next 15 years."

A consultation period on the neighbourhood plan ended on July 25. The plan can be seen on the Northampton Borough Council website.