An investigation by councillors into the impact the new University campus is having on Northampton town centre has concluded with a series of recommendations.
The borough council’s scrutiny committee has been looking at the Waterside campus and its relationship with the town centre over the last few months, since the new site opened in September.
And the final report has suggested a number of road improvements that could be looked at, as well as urging the university to ‘keep up’ its communications with local organisations.
The recommendations to the highways team at Northamptonshire County Council include widening the footpath opposite St John’s and Beckett’s Park and classing the road as ‘dual use’ - where vehicles have to stop if pedestrians are crossing.
It also recommends ‘enhancing’ the top part of Bedford Road, and ensuring the traffic lights at Bedford Road are properly managed and monitored as some drivers block routes causing tailbacks.
The final report, with a foreward by Councillor Graham Walker, hails the ‘positive impact’ students have had on the town centre, but acknowledges there have been challenges too.
Councillor Walker writes: “The University is an excellent facility and the students have made a positive impact to the town centre and in particular the night-time economy. The University has made a positive impact with regard to the cultural experience and continue developing relationships with the Royal and Derngate and NN Gallery as key members of the Cultural Quarter.
“There has been challenges, particularly around parking, noise and anti-social behaviour and the University has worked with key agencies and residents to address these issues. From the evidence a number of recommendations are detailed for cabinet’s consideration and action.”
The university is recommended to ‘keep up’ communications with police, the borough council and community groups such as Buddies of Beckett’s (BOB). It is also being asked to investigate the possibility of using an empty unit in the town centre to showcase the University.