Turf cutting marks official start of Northampton Marina project

From: WNDC
Published: Sun Mar 14 2010

A special ceremony is being held to mark the official start of works to create a multi-million pound marina in the heart of Northampton.

The Environment Agency began works to remove trees from Becket’s Park in February and will begin construction of the new marina next week. To mark this milestone, the Becket’s Park Partnership – set up to oversee the regeneration of the urban park including the creation of the marina – has organised an event that will include an official ‘turf cutting’ ceremony.

The ceremony, at 1.30pm on Tuesday, 9 March, will follow a tour of the marina site. The visit will give invited guests the opportunity to learn about the transformation of the currently underused waterside - the marina is one of the first steps in making Northampton a more exciting destination for current and future residents as well as visitors and the boating community. Putting Northampton on the map as a waterways destination is important to the town’s regeneration - the River Nene is a valuable natural asset.

The marina will offer 80 moorings, six of which will be for residential use. The remaining berths will be available for short term visitors and pleasure craft requiring long term leases. Moorings will also be available for operators of commercial leisure boats, such as hire boats and water taxis.

As part of long term plans to develop Northampton into The Market City, later phases of the Becket's Park project could deliver new landscaping, lighting, cafés and restaurants, while providing a busy, exciting link between the town centre and the waterside.

Paul Woodcock, Environment Agency Regional Director, said: "Northampton Marina will place Northampton on the map as a major destination. Becket’s Park is at the heart of two navigations – the River Nene and the Grand Union Canal – and is perfectly placed to attract visitors to the town.
"The Becket’s Park development will really help to transform the image of Northampton and the Environment Agency is proud to be involved in making this happen."

Northampton Borough Councillor Richard Church, cabinet member for regeneration and development, added: "Creating a new leisure facility in one of our main urban parks will give the people of the town an interesting and exciting place to visit and it will certainly attract lots of boaters and other visitors to explore Northampton’s historic buildings, market and cultural facilities. With works to the market square lighting and fountain already underway, the marina project is another example of superb partnership working to make Northampton a vibrant place that people are proud of."

The Northampton Marina project makes up phase one of the Becket’s Park Partnership’s Vision - part of the Becket’s Park Masterplan. It is being funded by the West Northamptonshire Development Corporation, Northamptonshire County Council and the Environment Agency with support from Northamptonshire Enterprise Limited.

John Markham, Chairman of West Northamptonshire Development Corporation, said: "The Marina will help breathe new life into the waterside of Northampton town centre. The revitalisation of this area is one of WNDC’s main priorities and that’s why we’re investing £1.8 million in the scheme. There are several opportunities for new jobs, homes, and leisure facilities along the river corridor which we are helping to deliver, making it a very exciting time for Northampton."

The marina is scheduled for completion in March 2011.

Northampton is one of the potential locations being considered to host the National Inland Waterways Festival in 2011. If held in the town, the event would mark the 40th anniversary of the festival returning to Northampton and 250 years of the Nene being navigable from Northampton to the Wash.
Company: WNDC
Contact Name: Nick Tite
Contact Email: Nicholas.Tite@wndc.org.uk
Contact Phone: 07988 608756

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