The Challenge / Context / Overview
- Our Town Centre Economic Regeneration team were appointed to advise the newly formed unitary authority to collectively assess, review and prepare a robust evidence base for the emerging West Northamptonshire Strategic Plan.
- This study reviewed and updated previous evidence-based studies prepared for the West Northamptonshire Centres. This includes: the South Northamptonshire Retail Study covering Towcester and Brackley Town Centres; and the Northampton Borough Council Retail and Leisure Study covering Northampton Town Centre and its smaller district and local centres.
Our Approach / Solution
- The assessment detailed the future need for new retail (convenience and comparison goods) floorspace and the quantitative need for new commercial leisure facilities, with the plan coming to fruition by 2050.
- It also provided the Council with a steer on policy, this resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic and changes to the planning system such as use-class and permitted development rights.
The Result / Added Value
- Our advice critically informed emerging Development Management policies and wider policy recommendations in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- It also provided the Council with evidence to prepare robust policies and strategies aimed at maintaining and enhancing the vitality, viability and competitive positions of West Northamptonshire’s main centres over the plans lifetime.
Colin Staves - Principal Spatial Planner at West Northamptonshire Council commented:
“West Northamptonshire Council commissioned LSH to undertake a Retail and Town Centre Uses Study to inform the preparation of the West Northamptonshire Strategic Plan. We were very impressed by the team’s up to date knowledge and insight into the challenges facing town centres and the future opportunities to create more diverse and thriving areas. A particular strength of the commission was LSH’s ability to engage effectively with a wide range of local stakeholders and ensure that their views were fully reflected in the final outputs of the study.”
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