Top firms raise fears about future development of Northampton

editorial image

A NUMBER of top Northampton firms and organisations have raised concerns about plans showing how the town centre could be developed over the next 15 years.

Northampton Borough Council revealed an action plan for the town centre at the end of last year.

The document included proposals to create a new cultural hub close to the Royal & Derngate Theatres and a new leisure and recreation area between Bedford Road and the River Nene as well as plans to redevelop the Grosvenor Centre and demolish the Fishmarket to make way for new shops.

But latest documents published by the council show a number of top companies and organisations in the town have raised serious concerns about some of the proposals.

Among those who have raised issues are Carlsberg, Asda, Tesco, Northamptonshire Police, the Highways Agency, English Heritage and the owners of the Grosvenor Centre, Legal & General.

Carlsberg has criticised the council’s plans because they do not allow space for the expansion of its Northampton brewery, Tesco has said the Fishmarket should not be demolished to make way for new shops and English Heritage has expressed fears about developments near the Battle of Northampton site at Delapre Abbey.

The Grosvenor Centre’s owners, Legal & General, has also said the redevelopment of the town mall will not provide a new bus station as the document states, saying it will simply “facilitate the bus interchange” and the Highways Agency has said it hopes the plans will be altered to give buses priority on Northampton’s ring road.

Discussing the plans, Paul Lewin, the council’s planning policy and heritage manager, said: “The plan is essential to the future prosperity and planning of the centre of Northampton.

“It is pivotal in leading economic recovery of the county and a key contribution to the United Kingdom’s economy.”

Members of the council’s cabinet will discuss the responses to the action plan during a meeting at the Guildhall next week.

When the document has been finalised by the council, the plans will be submitted to the Government for final approval.