University of Northampton reveals revised plans for new £330 million campus in town centre

Latest plans for the new University of Northampton campus NNL-140723-151501001
Latest plans for the new University of Northampton campus NNL-140723-151501001
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Revised plans for the University of Northampton’s new £330 million town centre campus are set to be given the go-ahead at a borough council planning meeting next week.

The university is planning to move from its existing sites in St George’s Avenue and Boughton Green Road in Northampton to a new 55-acre site off Bedford Road in the Waterside Enterprise Zone.

If building work goes to schedule, it is hoped that students will start using the new campus in September 2018.

On Tuesday, members of Northampton Borough Council’s planning committee are due to discuss the latest revised plans for the new campus, which have been recommended for approval by council officers.

Following talks with Northamptonshire County Council, the plans now include a right turn lane on Bedford Road into Riverside Way.

There will also be increased soft and hard landscaping around the proposed Becket’s Park footbridge and some changes to the original design of the vehicle bridge over the River Nene.

The masterplan has also been amended to expand the land available for the university’s sporting facilities, which will now include a four court sports hall.

As a result of the extension 
to the sports facilities, the land available for commercial development is slightly reduced.

A university lawn is also now proposed to provide a better entrance to the campus.

The initial application for the new university campus was presented to the planning committee in December 2013, where it was unanimously approved by councillors.

When the proposed plans were first announced in June 2013, Professor Nick Petford, vice chancellor of the University of Northampton, said he wanted the new campus to be a community facility with a gym and sports pitches 
which could be used by members of the public.

Speaking about the plans earlier this year, Professor Petford said: “We have worked hard to create a campus development in the heart of Northampton which will have great facilities for students, staff and the community of Northampton.

“The university has a critical role to play in Northampton’s success story and contributes significantly to the economy, both for Northampton and the enterprise zone.

“Our plan is not to build an ivory tower, but to be open to the community.”

Professor Petford said last year that he was “confident” the university would be able to raise the money it needed to pay for the new campus from the private sector.

He said: “We are not a public sector organisation and we have got to raise the cash for the project ourselves.

“What we will probably do is put it out to the market for private investment to raise 
£200 million.”

Professor Petford said the project was also being underwritten by the Treasury which demonstrated central Government’s commitment to the project.

Historically, Avon Cosmetics owned 33 acres of the waterside site and Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon (TWP) 
owned the other 25 acres, 
with the central access road that divides the two plots being held by an unknown owner.

In 2012, the University of Northampton entered into a partnership arrangement with the landowners (Avon Cosmetics, Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey) and the 
West Northamptonshire Development Corporation and the now defunct (WNDC) to bring forward a planning proposal.