Putting Northampton on the cultural map by 2025

Published: Thursday, 14 June 2018

Plans to improve the culture, heritage and tourism of Northampton and increase the number of visitors to the town were agreed at Northampton Borough Council’s Cabinet meeting last night.

The recommendations were agreed following an 11-month study conducted by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

The committee’s main recommendation is to develop a Cultural Strategy which will support a bid for Northampton to become the UK City of Culture for 2025.

Gaining this status would develop a strong focus on arts and culture and give a huge boost to the local economy, attracting additional investment and funding.

Other agreed recommendations which will support the bid include the creation of an extended heritage trail around the town, marked out with metal shoes, and Borough Councillors being trained up as tourist guides.

Northampton Museums & Art Gallery collections could be displayed in pop-up exhibitions in empty retail units, and a temporary Tourist Information Centre opened in a prominent town centre location, until it is re-housed in the new museum on Guildhall Road in late 2019.

The committee also recommended the use of blue plaques to mark historic buildings, free maps highlighting key attractions and liaising with the town’s major shoe companies, to encourage their customers to visit other parts of the town after shopping at their factory outlets.

Councillor Jamie Lane, Chair of the scrutiny panel for Culture and Tourism, said: “Northampton is a town of rich heritage and historical significance, and by 2025, we want to highlight the many positives to both new and existing residents, visitors and businesses.”