Work underway to restore neglected town centre beauty spot

St Katherine's Gardens

Work is underway to restore a forgotten green space in Northampton town centre to its former glory thanks to a lottery-funded volunteer project being staged as part of The Big Help Out to mark the King's Coronation weekend.

Groundworks have started this week in St Katherine's Gardens as part of plans to give the neglected area a new lease of life and make it an attractive place for shoppers and town centre workers to enjoy the summer sunshine.

Northampton Town Centre Business Improvement District (BID) has secured £10,000 of Lottery funding to pay for the work, with multiple partners including Northampton Town Council, landscapers idverde, builders merchants Travis Perkins, Zone Developments and Stepnells (the developers behind the ongoing Market Square works) donating their time and resources to help with the project.

On Monday, 8 May, a collaboration of volunteers from Northampton Town Council's Environmental Services Committee, the Royal British Legion, University of Northampton, Northampton College and local businesses will join forces to spruce up the area and clear litter as part of The Big Help Out – a national day of volunteering organised by The Together Coalition to mark the Coronation of King Charles III.

Mark Mullen, operations manager of Northampton Town Centre BID, said: "St Katherine's Gardens is a green space in the centre of Northampton that was once the site of the 19th century church of St Katherine. It provides a walkway between the Bus Station and Horsemarket, and is neighboured by businesses on College Street, St Katherine's Street and King Street.

"We want to improve the area so that it becomes a destination for local residents, town centre workers, and visitors to the town."

Work is already underway with contractors from West Northamptonshire Council enhancing the cleanliness and safety of the park and removing graffiti from the surrounding walls.

Areas will be set aside for 'No Mow May' to encourage wildlife back into St Katherine's Gardens while benches and bins will be repurposed and upcycled following their removal from the Market Square. Railings and gates will be freshly painted while there will be sections dedicated to Northampton Town Council's Bloom campaign and the Climate Change Forum.

Cllr Andrew Stevens, Chair of The Environmental Services Committee at Northampton Town Council said: "St Katherine's Gardens has so much potential as a peaceful green space in an urban area of the town. It will be fantastic to make an appreciable difference to the gardens and we're delighted to be working with so many partners and volunteers on this project."

The theme for the space is influenced by the King's passion for sustainability, biodiversity and the natural world. Volunteers will plant sustainable, perennial planters and a wild flower and grass bed, established flower beds will be pruned to encourage the growth of existing wild flowers and the whole site will be given a bright and clean new look, with the addition of a floral wellbeing mural, which will be painted by students.

Further elements of the project will see construction students at Northampton College create and install wooden planters, while staff at the neighbouring Park Inn will volunteer their time to lend a hand.

Chris Langsford, manager at the Park Inn, said: "The Big Help Out encourages people to try volunteering for themselves, to support the local area and create a lasting legacy from the Coronation Weekend within the community. We are looking forward to playing our part in making St Katherine's Gardens an area for the whole town to cherish for years to come."

Mark Bradshaw, curriculum manager for construction at Northampton College, said: "As the college in the community we are always keen to support projects such as this, that will make a difference to the lives of thousands of people in Northampton. It's an excellent opportunity for our students to showcase their skills and create something very special for the town."

For more information, visit the Coronation section of our website.

Posted: Mon, 24 Apr 2023 15:40 by Sara Kennedy

Tags: Events, News