Historic remains of Northampton’s former castle may feature in regeneration project

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PLANS to create a ‘heritage gateway’ using the remains of Northampton Castle have attracted a high level of support.

The Chronicle & Echo reported last month that a business proposal was being put together that would include bringing to the surface some of the underground remains of the 12th century castle.

The proposal, by the Friends of Northampton Castle (FoNC), would also include a historic trail and interpretation centre in an attempt to regenerate the Marefair area of the town.

Councillor David Mackintosh (Con, Rectory Farm), leader of Northampton Borough Council, and Brian Binley, MP for Northampton South, both pledged their support for the project after visiting the site.

Mr Binley said: “I think this is very important because we’ve got a new enterprise zone very close to this area, we’ve got a new railway station that we hope will be in situ and we need a gateway to the town that reflects the importance of the town and underlines its heritage.

“I do urge the people of Northampton to recognise what they’ve got. We’ve got a lot of heritage and history and it’s about time we talked up Northampton.”

The heritage gateway project will be included in documents detailing regeneration in the town.

Councillor Mackintosh said: “The borough council is evaluating a number of proposals to look at how our heritage assets might be incorporated into other plans, including how best to both preserve and promote the heritage gateway into Northampton from Castle Station into the town centre.

“As someone born and bred in the town I am proud of Northampton’s great past and want to ensure this is reflected in its future.”

Dr Marie Dickie, a member of FoNC, said the group was very close to publishing its proposal. She said: “It’s good finally to have got a sense that all the authorities that could have an influence on this, and the voluntary organisations, do think this is a good idea and are willing to co-operate.

“There’s going to have to be a negotiation of how we do this over time to fit in with other developments.”

She said: “The next step will be the people of Northampton has got to get behind this. We really need people to start saying this is what we really want for Northampton.”