Heritage tourism and promoting Northamptonshire’s rich local history through education are part of plans to expand the Heritage Gateway programme countywide.
Northamptonshire County Council and partners are preparing a strategy to not only celebrate our heritage but also see how it can be preserved, enhanced and developed as the county continues to grow.
The news comes as the winner of a design competition to regenerate the former Castle House site in Northampton – another Heritage Gateway initiative – has been announced.
The proposal to breathe new life into the vacant plot in Northampton town centre will be designed by Francis Terry of Quinlan and Francis Terry
Cllr Jim Harker, Leader of Northamptonshire County Council, said: “Our county town and Northamptonshire as a whole have a very rich history which deserves to be celebrated.
“Our heritage is strong, diverse and full of character and should be core to the offer Northamptonshire can make to new residents, businesses and visitors.
“Not only is our heritage important when it comes to people identifying with Northamptonshire but it also has an essential role to play in the local economy.
“The Heritage Gateway has reached a very exciting stage and I’m looking forward to seeing the proposals drawn up for the former Castle House site.
“Of course, this next stage of the programme comes at a time when we’re expanding the Heritage Gateway across the county, which is a natural progression of the very good work that has happened so far.”
The former Castle House site
The design brief for the former Castle House site is for the provision of a number of homes which will need to reflect the historic setting and incorporate high quality materials typical of the county.
It will include an open visual link between the two historic sites, Northampton Castle and St Peter’s Church and it is expected that the project will act as a catalyst for further quality new design in the area.
The dwellings will also have to be energy efficient and include the latest technologies with regard to environmental sustainability and next-generation living.
Francis Terry said: “It is a pleasure and a privilege to be working on the Castle House site. Northampton is a fine historic town which still has its traditional urban structure in place.
“I see my role as piecing together the street pattern in a way that is sympathetic to the unique character of the town as well as satisfying contemporary requirements of function and sustainability.”
A countywide Heritage Gateway
The Heritage Gateway is being rolled out across the county after the success of the programme in Northampton. It was initially part of the Northampton Alive regeneration initiative which has seen the introduction of new bus and railway stations and a host of private sector initiatives.
The Heritage gateway project complements the work being carried out by NEP together with venues and practitioners countywide to develop a Northamptonshire Heritage and Visitor Economy strategy. This will build on the success of the recent Heritage in the Economy conference at Boughton House in September 2015 and subsequent Heritage Strategy Workshop at Althorp in October 2015, hosted by Earl Spencer.
Brian Binley, Chairman of Northampton Alive and vice chairman of NEP, said: “I am delighted to welcome the Heritage Gateway, which not only highlights the abundance of heritage sites within the county, but underlines the importance of place not only to those with roots in our county but also to those tens of thousands of newcomers who choose Northamptonshire as their home.”