Northampton's past is way forward say experts

Historic buildings and monuments in Northampton need to be exploited more to increase the profile of the town, English Heritage has said.

The consensus came after discussions at a summit at Northampton's Guildhall yesterday where community groups and environmental organisations talked about the affect of heritage on Northamptonshire's towns.

English Heritage said the message from delegates was that landmarks like Queen Eleanor Cross, in London Road, St Peter's Church and the Northampton Castle site ought to be made more of to help promote the town.

Paul Bodenham, a policy advisor for English Heritage, said: "The main issue that came up was about gateways into the town. In Northampton there is a very rich history and there is a ring of heritage sites on the outside of the town. "But many of them are not being shown off to their full potential at the moment.

"It's like when you come out of the train station, how many people actually know the castle site is nearby? There is a story to Northampton and it's not just a place that just got washed up in the 21st Century."

The 'Make Your Heritage Work For You' event saw councillors, heritage experts, environmental organisations and community groups meet to discuss how to protect and promote the region's historic environment.

Activities were hosted by Northampton Borough Council, and began with a briefing on developments which will affect the future of the area's heritage.

These included the Draft Heritage Protection Bill, which the government has published to improve the system of statutory protection, and strengthen public involvement in heritage.

English Heritage will now compile feedback from the event and use it to recommend a course of action to the East Midlands Development Agency .