Gold Street next up in Kettering town centre makeover

Work could start next month
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A further section of Gold Street is in line for a revamp as part of Kettering town centre’s makeover.

North Northamptonshire Council’s (NNC) executive committee will meet next week to discuss phase three of a £4m High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) revitalisation project between the authority and Historic England.

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Works to replace the pavement and install benches and trees have already taken place in High Street, Meadow Road and the top of Gold Street, which received a mixed reaction from shoppers.

Kettering town centre's makeoverKettering town centre's makeover
Kettering town centre's makeover

And now more of Gold Street will benefit from improvement works costing £460,000, which could start next month.

Cllr David Brackenbury, the council’s executive member for growth and regeneration, said: “The team at NNC have worked very hard alongside contractors on the work so far on the project in Kettering town centre and the results are impressive.

“I am pleased to hear that we are now in a position to look to the next phase and further improvements. I look forward to discussing the report with other executive members at next week’s meeting.”

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The council says that Gold Street has been identified due to its ‘prime location’, alongside the potential long-term benefits and increase in footfall.

They are proposing to reassign some of the funding from within HSHAZ scheme to undertake the work. The funds used will be drawn primarily from funding already allocated for public realm works but will also use redirected funds identified for historic buildings grants and funds secured from Section 106 agreements that would otherwise have been invested in Lower Street.

A report set to be discussed by councillors said: “Although the take up of historic buildings grants has been healthy, the HSHAZ project team is mindful that there may be greater certainty and benefit from investing additional funds into further public realm enhancements, which have brought with them a marked improvement in the historic character of the town centre, accessibility and increased footfall.”

It added: “A clear justification for investing in this area right now is that a number of shopfront works, and repairs have been undertaken in this part of Gold Street. Investing in public realm will complement the work on the shopfronts, elevating the appearance and investment already made. In addition, this area is a prime High Street location, the potential benefits and likely increase in investment and footfall will likely grow even more as a result.”

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The council previously extended the HSHAZ area to enable the scheme to fund the preparation of a study to be undertaken on the Grade-II Listed Sawyer’s Almshouses after concerns that they may have fallen into a state of disrepair.

In May 2019 Historic England launched the HSHAZ £95m fund and Kettering was one of 69 towns nationally that was successful in its bid.

Cllr Jason Smithers, leader of the council, said: “The High Street Heritage Action Zone is an excellent project which is making a real difference to Kettering. I hope residents and local businesses are already noticing this, with more visitors to the area and an improved street scene.”