The Borough Council and partners plan to establish a Cultural Quarter that will recognise the enormous contribution the sector makes to the local economy and the fact that creativity and innovation are at the heart of Northampton’s regeneration.
The Cultural Quarter will encompass the area bordered by Derngate and Guildhall Road and will mark the unique creative cluster that has grown up there. The Quarter will become a focus for future developments that will attract creative and cultural enterprises and other complementary businesses.
Cllr David Mackintosh, Leader of Northampton Borough Council, said: "The creative economy will play a key part in what we are trying to achieve in Northampton. The sector is critical to our overall strategy of encouraging investment and growth and we want to acknowledge the enormous contribution made by the businesses already in our Cultural Quarter and support others to come and set up there.
"Northampton really is alive with world class culture and enterprise and we are serious about making the town a place where creativity can flourish.”
The plan will go before Northampton Borough Council’s cabinet on January 16 and if approved, a new body – the Northampton Cultural Forum – will be set up to drive forward the development of the quarter. The Forum will be drawn from Northampton Borough Council; NN (Northampton Arts Collective); Royal & Derngate Theatres; 78 Derngate; Northamptonshire County Council; Creative Northants; University of Northampton; Arts Council England.
One of the first steps is to mark the boundaries of the new Cultural Quarter with signage and a map.
Martin Sutherland, Chief Executive of the Northamptonshire Arts Management Trust said: "We look forward to working with our neighbours and partners to ensure that Northampton town centre continues to develop as a place for highly regarded creative activity and entertainment.”
Peter Gould of the 78 Derngate Trust said: "The Cultural Quarter will provide a real boost to Northampton. This year 78 Derngate will be celebrating ten years as a major attraction and will benefit from and contribute to the new focus and opportunities that will flow from the Cultural Quarter initiative. The contribution to Northampton's economy and regeneration made by the cultural sector will surely be substantial."
Catherine Hemelryk, Artistic Director of NN Contemporary Art Northampton said: "There is such passion for the arts in Northampton and it is really heartening seeing this recognised by the Borough and County Councils. I love working in Northampton and I can't wait to see how the area develops over the coming years.”
Morag Ballantyne, Head of Creative Industries Development, Creative Northants, University of Northampton. Said: "Creative Northants looks forward to working with Northampton Borough Council and partners to ensure that the Cultural Quarter provides focus and support for enterprising and entrepreneurial creative and cultural businesses to develop and grow and contribute Northampton's prosperity."