Award winning regeneration scheme brings history to life
The first phase of a major regeneration project in a historic Northamptonshire town has won a national award.
Based in a heritage conservation area, the Moat Lane project in Towcester town centre is a 16,600m² mixed use scheme, comprising new retail, leisure, residential and office development. A developer partner is currently being procured for the scheme, which received planning permission in September 2010.
The centrepiece of the wider development was completed in April 2010. It included the renovation of an ancient medieval fortification, known as Bury Mount, alongside the restoration of the Water Meadows – a grade II registered historic park. Having been sensitively restored as a community, visitor and educational facility, Bury Mount and the Water Meadows have won the restoration category at the Museums & Heritage Awards 2011, beating strong competition including a restoration project at Westminster Abbey.
Chris Garden, WNDC’s Director of Regeneration and Development said: “Bury Mount and the Water Meadows represent the first phase of a £40million development. The wider mixed-use scheme will showcase the historic heart of the town alongside modern development that is sympathetic to the heritage of the site, including high quality offices, niche retail, and a boutique hotel”
Xanthe Quayle from Camlin Lonsdale, the landscape architects for the scheme, said “We are delighted to receive this award not least because the project demonstrates that sensitive heritage assets such as Bury Mount, far from being a stifling influence on development, can be successfully used as the centrepiece for achieving aspirational and transformational change. This project also showcases the capacity for responsive and inventive landscape design as a powerful driver for regeneration.”
Originally built in the 12th century, Bury Mount was previously listed on English Heritage’s ‘Monuments at Risk’ register. The mount has been stabilised, reconnected to the town, and renewed as an educational resource, with ‘interpretative signage’ narrating Towcester’s history. The neighbouring Water Meadows encompass around 60 acres of Grade II registered parkland. They have been acquired and opened up to the local community, following improvements to natural habitats and public access.
The Moat Lane project is led by South Northamptonshire Council, Northamptonshire County Council and the West Northamptonshire Development Corporation. It has benefited from significant funding and support from these organisations as well as Northamptonshire Enterprise Limited, the East Midlands Development Agency and the Homes & Communities Agency.