Town centre summit report outlines raft of issues in Northampton

Empty shops in Northampton town centre
Empty shops in Northampton town centre
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Dirty streets, empty shops, beggars, car parking and punitive business rates are among a raft of issues affecting Northampton town centre which need urgent attention, a new report has stated.

A town centre summit, which was attended by businesses from across Northampton, was held at the Guildhall last September.

And the results of the survey have now been published, with Northampton Borough Council already pledging to take action in 27 areas.

The summit, which was chaired by former Church’s China managing director, Stephen Church, revealed an “overwhelming view” that cost and availability of car parking was the most damaging issue affecting footfall.

It goes on to say that business rates are at an “unsustainable level” and are “critically damaging” to both current businesses, and the prospects of attracting new businesses.

The re-design of the Market Place has failed, with a 25 per cent drop in pitch rentals, and cleanliness is “well short” of acceptable levels, the report continues.

And it goes on to say that beggars, street drinkers, gangs of youths and drink-induced anti-social behaviour are affecting the down by day and night.

Councillors are also labelled as “uninspired,” and lacking the knowledge to make necessary improvements to the town.

In the report, Mr Church says: “The overwhelming areas of concern for the majority of contributors relate to the cleanliness and maintenance of streets, furniture and public spaces along with the availability and cost of parking.

“It was also strongly felt that urgent attention should be given to the issues of anti-social behaviour, development of the cultural quarter and arterial access to the town centre.”