The majority of the new housing areas are located out of the town centre. This ranges from semi-detached housing to detached. There are several new housing developments, which have been completed or are in the process of being completed. These new settlements include areas such as Grange Park and Wooton Fields.
There are many old parkland and sports grounds evenly spread across Northampton. There are parks like Abington Park and Dallington Park . A typical example of an old sports ground is the former Northampton Town Football stadium, which is now the Northampton County Cricket Ground. Abington Park is located off Park Avenue South. Dalington Park is located off the A428 Harlestone Road. Northampton County Cricket Ground is located off Abington Avenue. I believe factors influencing the location of these old parkland areas are distance from surrounding housing areas, location in comparison to transport links, surrounding noise pollution, amount of land available. Factors affecting the location of sports grounds are mainly transport links simply because sports grounds relay on good easy access to their ground for their supporters.
There are many more parkland areas and sports grounds beginning to appear in Northampton. There is Overstone Park located off the A43, Sywell Road. Kingsthorpe Golf Course located off Kingsley Road. Delapre Golf Course located off London Road. Boughton Park located off the A508 Harborough Road. Northampton F.C, Sixfields Stadium located off the A45 Upton Way . As you can see every one of these parkland areas and sports grounds is next to a major road link. So therefore this just means easy access for people, which is the exact intentions of these sorts of locations. The locations of these new parkland and sports ground is not just due to location in terms of transport links but also changes in our life styles. Generally more and more people are beginning to work weekends so fewer people now find time to go as a family to the park so overall parks are becoming second choice in terms of recreation. Leisure centres have been made in accordance to housing and settlements. This can be shown by examples such as Danes Camp for Hunsbury and Lings Forum for the Eastern District.
There are many more new leisure facilities than there ever were old. Simply because now our lifestyle is such that it depends on recreation and relaxation. Billing Aquadrome theme park is located off the A45 Valley Way. GX Super Bowl is located on the St. James Retail Park off the A5123 Towcester Road.. As you can see leisure facilities are no longer confined to a town centre location. This is mainly due to a change in peoples life styles and also peoples increased mobility. More and more people are prepared to travel further distances to fill their recreational needs. Where as in the past people would only travel to a leisure facility if it was in walking distance, now people travel across town to swimming baths, clubs & bars and so on. They mainly do this because these places have good easy road access. Many of these leisure areas have located where they are due to space, cheap land because of an out of town location, quality road access (near a major road), plenty of room for expansion and so on.
Many of the old public buildings are simply located in the town centre. Town Hall is located on St. Giles Street. The old council offices are located on George Row. The old Education office is located behind the Grosvenor Centre (see map 2).
The new public buildings are more or less located in a reasonable distance from the town centre. The Education office has moved to John Dryden House located on the Bedford road. The council offices have moved to Lakes View located on the Bedford Road.
CHANGE IN LAND USE:
Land use within the CBD has changed dramatically and this is largely to do with out of town locations. Many large supermarkets and superstores are attracted by incentives such as, cheap flat land, large acres of space plenty for expansion. Riverside Retail Park is a prime example of an out of town shopping area, which has attracted many large superstores and car companies. Companies like Currys, Comet, Power House and Boots have all taken up location on the estate. Car companies like Audi and Daewoo have show rooms set up on the estate. As I have mentioned before these companies have located here due to availability of land, cheap rent, and room for expansion. However, the single most important factor to the companies has been the location of the site in relation to surrounding market. Riverside cannot only boast of its location off the A45 roundabout but also the fact that it is only across the dual carriageway from a major housing area, Weston Favell.
The majority of the clothes and record shops are mainly concentrated within certain parts of the CBD. Shops like HMV and Virgin Megastore tend to be concentrated in the very centre of the town, in Northampton’s case, in the Grosvenor Centre. This is mainly due to the fact that these record shops rely heavily on the passing market of people in the Grosvenor Centre. The clothes shops are a completely different pattern of those of any other kind of shop. There is a general trend of the major clothes shops like H&M’s, Bhs, River Island all located on Abington street leaving the majority of the clothes shops like Littlewoods, Topman, and Beatties in the Grosvenor Centre. The rest of the Grosvenor is made up of the odd small newsagent, sports shops, jewellers and the odd restaurant like the recent development of McDonalds.
The majority of estate agents are located in and around Bridge Street because basically Bridge Street is the centre of the estate agents trade. By this I mean if an estate agent wanted to locate somewhere and instead of locating in Bridge Street located elsewhere like an out of town location, they are most likely to receive less trade than someone set up in Bridge Street. So you could say Bridge Street is renowned for its estate agent trade. Despite Bridge Street having a reputation as a prime estate agent location there are other factors like the location in relation to road other town centre road links. Bridge Street is quite like an inter-section point in the town centre Bridge Street leads off into the vacinity of several other streets. Bridge Street leads onto the Drappery, Gold Street, George Row, Victoria Promenade, and Angel Street. As you can see all these streets more or less make up the road links of the old town centre so this leads me to believe that estate agents set up on Bridge Street to be close to the busy trade on these streets at the time.
The entertainment value attached to shopping has never been greater or important than it is today. People no longer see shopping as something they have to do but as a leisure activity. I believe that the majority of people will rather travel that little bit further to go to that specific shop, for example, Harrods in London. Many people who do not live in London will still travel the distance to go and experience the shopping life of London. This vast change in peoples attitudes of shopping being a leisure activity has not come about through some fantastic evolution but has been a result of a change in the style and appearance of shopping areas, and not forgetting transport links. Now day’s shopping centres have become a family friendly zone. They offer a very clean and friendly environment for people in general and especially families with their small child care facilities for the day, which offer small children with a fun day out in safety for a small minimal charge to parents. This allows mothers to be away from the constant nagging of their children and enjoy themselves shopping. Another attraction to the leisure attached to shopping is the fact that there are numerous small cafes, benches and quiet seating areas in the shopping centres, which allow people to sit down and have a coffee or something to eat or even just relax for a while. LittleWoods is a prime example of what I have just mentioned. They provide good hot meals at a fractional price, which allows people to sit down, take a break from shopping and relax. With these sorts of incentives who wouldn’t see shopping as leisure! Another factor is that shops these days are located so conveniently and in just the right place that when people go into town they are constantly hounded by the convenience of every store. The town centre is also much more pedestrianised than it was before. The old Cannon cinema in the town centre has moved away and there is a new one in Sixfields. The old shopping parts of the town have moved to areas such as Riverside and Sixfields. These areas are next to dual carriageways so transport is not a problem especially when nearly every family has a car or two. 50 years ago cars weren’t too common so areas such as these remote places would have not been chosen for such important parts of the town.
Many of the small shops like Newsagents have been driven out of the CBD mainly because of competition. There are very few units in the CBD, which are vacant with a low rent. Many of the units have high rent and are not very spacious. All of the small Newsagents rely heavily on passing trade so have to have a good location. This is mainly due to the fact that major chain stores like H&M’s, Bhs, Debenhams, Littlewoods and many more all take a huge ‘chunk’ of profit from the trade of the town centre so leave almost ‘peanuts’ in terms of money for the smaller shops. There are of course exceptions of small Newsagents surviving in the town centre. On the Drapery there is a Newsagent next to Debenhams, which is thriving on passing trade to keep afloat in a very competitive area. Another example of a shop staying afloat on passing trade is another Newsagents located on the corner of Market Square. You could argue both have very little space and most likely have to pay a very high rent so sooner or later will be driven out of the town centre, but that is not the case because they both have a good passing trade. Another prime example of a Newsagents surviving on passing trade in the town centre is the Kiosk/Newsagents in the Bus Station. This again is confined to very little space and has a high rent so relies heavily on the Bus Stations passing trade.
The Growth of nightlife entertainment is very significant in the CBD. There have been many new night clubs and bars just recently developed and opened. Lloyds bar is just one of many developments. It is located on Abington Street.
The site of the old cannon cinema has been vacant for many years since the cinema left the site. It is located opposite Abington Street in the town centre is next door to ‘Jessops’ and ‘Studio One’ as well as being opposite BBC Northampton Radio.
If the construction of the superpub went ahead, Northampton would continue its progress as one of the leading attractions for its nightlife. It is valuable for the expansion of the Midlands and it would help in its quest to become a city. The young affluent population would create new money for the Borough council as well as the owners; the pub would also generate jobs for the unemployed members of Northampton. This pub could really secure Northampton’s position on the map and would help in creating hype for the town.
The pub however, may well cause a lot of pollution in means of noise pollution along with extra traffic. This could have an effect on nearby residents who may not be fond of the idea. The town centre may furthermore get itself a bad reputation by only having places for the young affluent people to eat and get drunk which in turn can create problems such as violence, extra noise, extra traffic. It could be argued that that there are already plenty of pubs and bars in the same area, why have another? The pub would not only be a magnet for Northamptonians but also residents from nearby towns in the region. They are all liable to arrive in a car and that would cause parking troubles.
In my opinion, the pub should go ahead. The pull factors outweigh the push factors easily. Not only would it benefit people by means of creating new jobs but it would also give the town more admiration. The traffic wouldn’t be too big a problem because when people go to a pub they generally go to drink. If you have been drinking then you can’t drive so many people will use taxis or walk. Northampton is in a great location and needs to keep growing if it’s to achieve city status. This pub will attract more people to Northampton and the owners are willing to pay the Council a large sum for the site, this will bring extra money to us. It would be very good for the community of Northampton.
The old cattle market moved from the site of the new Morrissons store (Victoria Promenade) approximately 4-5 years ago. The new Morrissons store bought with it a smaller chain of stores (Dunnes) as well as the petrol station and the new housing developments to the rear of the site. This provided many new jobs and gave the area more respect with its new image.
The old cattle market was for years a shabby establishment with old buildings and deteriorating sheds. It had poor accessibility and supplied unwelcome noise and smell to the surrounding residents. The cattle market had been declining in amount of business for a number of years and when their lease ran out on the site it provided a perfect opportunity to move to a different site, which would provide better accessibility, room for expansion and a good road network. The site chosen was Brackmills. An added bonus for this site was the fact that there’s a train track running through the area although this is rarely used nowadays. This also gave a chance for the cattle market to change its image and build new buildings and new sheds.
The town and country planning system is based on planning laws passed by the Central Government, (Department of Environment, Transport & Regions). There are National Policies which basically means that the person asking for planning permission must prove that there is no where else to build and if there is they will be rejected. Also there are Government circulars.
In the web diagram I have shown who is the local planning authority:
COUNTY COUNCIL BOROUGH COUNCIL
NORTHAMPTON SET UP BROAD AIMS
STRUCTURE PLAN NORTHAMPTON LOCAL
STRATEGIC GROWTH LAND USE ALLOCATION
UP TO 2006 SITE SPECIFIC
(Land use for areas)
As you can see the Borough Council interpret, what the county council say and set up a local plan. The role of the Borough Council basically falls into three main categories. Planning for the future, control of development, and conservation, design and improvements.
Planning officers make planning decisions. These planning officers make recommendations to the Sub-Committee who control development; the committee consists of nine elected members including the chairman. These are the stages; an application goes through to be processed:
- Local Plan Development Site
- Site assembly
- Planning Application
- Retail Impact Study
- Traffic Impact Study
- Site Constraints
- Existing Features
- Elevation & External Treatments (Landscaping)
- Other considerations: Archaeology, Flood defence, sewer/drainage
- Committee Decision
As you can see, processing an application is a prolonged process. Even though the application takes a long period of time to be approved or refused, 60% of the application is determined by 6-8 weeks. If some ones application is refused, they can appeal to the Secretary Estate of planning applications to why their application has been refused. Then an inspector would be sent to the council to find out why! If people build something without planning permission then they are not necessarily doing something ‘illegal’ but in fact only ‘unauthorized.’ They then have a nine month enforcement notice which basically means; take the extension or building down within nine months or else! The applicant can then appeal to the Secretary Estate who will have an inspector come and approve the extension, if on the other hand the inspector says no, then the last choice the applicant has is to go to the high court. If the high court rules against the applicant’s extension then the bulldozer takes down the extension/building. This process may work at times, however is very lengthy and expensive for the applicant.
The council was under extreme pressure to move the Cattle Market because of many factors. The Town Centre site, owned by the council was very valuable, estimated at around £4 million. There were changes in the way local farmers sold cattle, for example, farmers like to sell direct from the farm so being at the old cattle market site did not help matters. The large land area could be used far more effectively, possibly to help solve problems of housing and increasing demand for shopping. Environmental issues were in dispute such as animals like cows leaving large quantities of manure on the town centre site, this would leave bad smells in the air generally creating an unpleasant atmosphere. The continuous obstruction of large cattle transporters caused heavy traffic congestion from the roundabout onwards. Obviously the return from rent was low due to the fact that site was a cattle market so costs to keep the market open were increasing all the time. The final factor was that facilities in the market were poor such as, covered pens, which finally resulted in animal welfare groups complaining.
Once the first draft plans were drawn up many options were considered. This being whether or not the site should be used for all housing, all shopping, or industrial/retail. The basic application outlined on the needs of the community that the site be used for housing and retail simply to solve housing problems and meet demand for increased shopping by the public.
The planners needed to consider many aspects of the site, these being; effects on area shopping and effects on traffic. All of these aspects contributed in some way to the planner’s decisions. A retail impact study had to be considered, this meaning the impact on other shops around the site. For example, would people come to Morrisons instead of going somewhere like Sainsbury’s in the town centre? So obviously, this would affect their trade. The second aspect, which had to be considered, was the traffic impact study this meaning the traffic congestion on the roundabout, as the site was going to create a lot of traffic the question had to be asked, whether or not a one-way system should be introduced? This would prevent traffic congestion on the roundabout, i.e. long queues to get into Morrisons. Car Parking was another issue involved with the traffic impact study. People were most likely to take advantage of a free parking space in the Morrisons car park and go and walk into to town from there to do their shopping. This would mean people who wanted to park in Morrisons and shop in Morrisons could not do so, so Morrisons would obviously have to install a pay and park scheme forcing people who did not want to shop in Morrisons to use the Grosvenor centre parking.
The site of the Old Cattle Market is rich in many ways. I use the term ‘rich’ simply because the existing features of the site are very good. The entire site is a flat area of land making building work and setting foundations down very easy. The actual site is a considerable size giving plenty of room for further expansion in the future. The site is located off Victoria Promenade so is very close to Bridge Street which leads right into the town centre. The only plausible site constraint is that the local residents in the Victoria Parade area will object to having such a development near to them. The traffic problems are simple enough, great masses of cars will pass through the Victoria Promenade area congesting the road further and causing more havoc on the roundabout, than there already is. Another major issue in the congestion of traffic is the fact that even more pollution will be created in the area, from car fumes to littering from people. I believe the advantages of the site are mainly to do with its location in relation to the town centre. For example, if people want to make a quick trip to the supermarket and are heading in the direction of town they will most likely go to Morrisons instead of some where like Sainsbury’s in the Grosvenor centre. This is because going to Sainsbury’s or any other supermarket in the town centre will mean that people have to firstly take their time to park in the Grosvenor centre then secondly make their way into the shopping centre. Whereas Morrisons is far more convenient for people who want to shop quickly. Also being on a road like the Victoria Promenade means that you receive all passing trade from the Bedford Road A428 which is to the east of the site and passing trade from the A45 Weedon Road which is to the west of the site. Another good location aspect to the site is that major housing areas like Abington, Kingsthorpe, Dallington, and Far Cotton are all within a mile and a half radius of the site. The only possible disadvantage of the site is that because the land is flat and the River Nene runs behind the site possibly the area could be prone to flooding. This is why Morrissons was raised by 1 metre from ground level, which saved it from the 1998 floods.
The site is bound to have a substantial impact on the surrounding area. Access will be a big problem seeing as the roundabout is likely to be the entrance and exit of Morrisons. This is a huge problem at peak times when masses of cars are traveling past the site. This will lead to traffic congestion, which is far too much traffic for such a small roundabout to handle. One way the congestion problem could be solved would be to develop a One-Way system, possibly having the exit to come out onto the Cattle Market Road. This would divert traffic away from the roundabout therefore meaning that the only congestion would be people getting into the site via the roundabout. The Archaeology of the site will definitely have an impact on the area. Despite how ever much the building is made to look like its surroundings the fact that the site is a new development will affect the general look of the entire area. Flood defence is another impact on the area simply because, the land is flat and is vulnerable to flooding from the River Nene. Sewer and drainage is one of the most important issues of the impact on the area. Drainage must be good in case of heavy rainfall, which may lead to flooding, also just as importantly sewage disposal must be good for the general health and appearance of the site.
Having considered all the ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ it was decided to go ahead with the development of the old cattle market site into Morrisons simply because the advantages of developing the site far out weighed the disadvantages of developing the site. Also at the time when people were given the chance to appeal against the development no one did so, so the application went through with no problem what so ever.
Here's what a teacher thought of this essay
An excellent review of a variety of urban issues, covering 2 specific cases - the superpub and Morrisons. The student shows very detailed knowledge of the area, with specific named examples, distances and companies. They would benefit from an introductory paragraph explaining what the report will do (aims) and this would help understand the structure. There are just a couple of examples of information that may not be relevant to the report overall, e.g. the stages and set up of the Council/planning permission. Although this is detailed info, it does not directly matter to the main issues of the report. There is some comparison and discussion of impacts and factors, showing some evaluation skills. This could be further evidenced if done in the final paragraph too.