The Government has announced that Northampton will receive £25 million from its Towns Fund to kickstart a raft of development projects across the town.
News came as part of today’s (Wednesday 3 March) Treasury Budget announcement and has been enthusiastically welcomed by members of the Northampton Forward board.
Northampton Forward was set up around two years ago as a public-private partnership to drive forward progress in the town.
It includes individuals from a range of businesses, community interests and public sector bodies to ensure all proposals are robustly scrutinised.
Brendan Bruder of Abbeyross Property Consultants, who represents the Northampton Town Centre Business Improvement District (BID) on the Northampton Forward Board, said: “This is the help from central Government the town needs.
“Local government and the private sector need the firepower to make good on the aspirations of their communities and Northampton is a business, resident and visitor community ready, willing and now able to make progress.”
Jo Gordon, Chief Executive of the Royal & Derngate and Northampton Forward Board Member, said: “What more could we have hoped for than an award for the full amount sought?
“This money will breathe life into a range of very exciting projects, including some heavy investment into our blossoming Cultural Quarter, and will be the catalyst for a huge amount of private sector investment in the town.”
In December, the board submitted its Town Investment Plan to Government as the basis for its bid for Towns Fund support. At the time, this asked for £37 million which included a duplicate bid for funding to cover planned work on the Market Square and Waterloo House.
As Northampton has been awarded £8.4 million from the Government’s Future High Streets Fund for the Market Square work and Waterloo House has been bought by a private developer, these two projects worth £12 million were removed.
Cllr Jonathan Nunn, Leader of Northampton Borough Council and Chairman of Northampton Forward, said: “In essence, the Government has awarded us the full amount we asked for, so to say I’m ecstatic is probably an understatement. This money will allow us to progress a number of schemes across our town which will help us not only transform our high streets, but significantly boost our already compelling cultural offer.
“I’m extremely grateful to all of the staff who worked tirelessly to create our submission, and to colleagues from Northampton Forward without whose support this would most certainly not have been possible.”
The Government grant will be supported by match-funding of £13.5 million from the Council, Enterprise Zone, Getting Building Fund and the National Heritage Lottery Fund and will unlock private-sector investment worth £156m.
The full list of projects being supported is as follows, and full details of each can be found in the Town Investment Plan.
• Town Centre Public Realm
• 41-45 Abington Street
• 35-39 Abington Street
• Marefair Heritage Gateway
• Four Waterside
• 24 Guildhall Road Arts Centre
• Extension of 78 Derngate – The Charles Rennie Mackintosh Museum
• Emporium Way
• St Peter’s and the Old Black Lion
• Skills and Social Enterprise