'Northampton needs a hug': Conference calls for businesses and shoppers to love their town and make most of incoming students

The Northampton Town Centre - Our Next Steps conference was held to discuss the future of the town.
The Northampton Town Centre - Our Next Steps conference was held to discuss the future of the town.

A call went out last night for businesses and shoppers to “love Northampton” and look forward to it’s future.

The “Northampton Town Centre - Our Nexts Steps” conference was held yesterday (September 19) to discuss how councils, businesses and shoppers can rethink the high street.

Deborah Mattock from the University of Northampton urged businesses to make the most of the 12,000 students arriving in town next month.

Deborah Mattock from the University of Northampton urged businesses to make the most of the 12,000 students arriving in town next month.

It included an appeal for retailers to hire and make the most of the 12,000 students arriving at the Waterside Campus next week and find ways to “entice, attract and even seduce” shoppers into Northampton.

Rob Purdie, executive director of Northampton BID, who hosted the conference, said: “Let’s love Northampton. The town needs a bit of a hug. It’s had a hard old time and we must be positive about the future and move forward.

“We’re not just open for business. We mean business.

“Join us as we build a new Northampton. That’s what we need, what we deserve and what we’ve earned.”

Speeches and a Q&A session were held for an audience of over 140 people made of Northampton businesses, industry heads and borough council bosses.

It also saw the director of marketing for the University of Northampton, Deborah Mattock, urge the town to make the most of the new student population in the south of the town.

She said: "Over 12,000 students are about to arrive and they are going to be vital to the future of Northampton. These people have money to spend. They have skills to offer.

"They love coffee shops and bars and they like to go out and have a good time."

Editor of the Chronicle & Echo David Summers took the stage to discuss the results of this paper's town centre survey, which had over 1,400 responses from readers earlier this year for what you wanted from Northampton.

Executive director of NBID Rob Purdie: "Northampton needs a bit of a hug."

Executive director of NBID Rob Purdie: "Northampton needs a bit of a hug."

Mr Summers said: "What the Chronicle & Echo has shown is that people care passionately about Northampton town centre. It feels like there is a wind of change in Northampton. This is the time to capture that passion for our town centre.

"We cannot be sitting here in five years time talking about how Northampton town centre is underperforming and how it needs to change."

The conference took place at the Park Inn by Radisson in Silver Street.

Over 140 guests made up of Northampton businesses, industry heads and council bosses attended.

Over 140 guests made up of Northampton businesses, industry heads and council bosses attended.