Scheme to transform neglected town centre beauty spot up for major award

Posted 20th September 2023

A project to transform a forgotten green space in Northampton town centre has been shortlisted for another prestigious award.

For years St Katherine’s Gardens was a magnet for crime and anti-social behaviour, but this year it has been revitalised by a lottery-funded project led by Northampton Town Centre Business Improvement District (BID).

With support from Northampton Town Council and an army of volunteers, Northampton BID spearheaded a campaign to turn the park into an urban green space for shoppers and town centre workers.

The project has already won a national award at the Association of Town and City Management Industry Awards and has now made it to the finals of East Midlands Chamber’s Derbyshire Business Awards in the Excellence in Collaboration category having been submitted by Derbyshire-based pfbb UK (Partnerships for Better Business) which manages Northampton BID.

BID operations manager Mark Mullen said: “Thanks to this project a previously unloved area of Northampton town centre has been transformed into a fantastic space for shoppers and people living and working in the area.

“Seeing so many different organisations from across Northampton working together to create something so special for the town has been incredibly inspirational.

“This project has shown off Northampton’s community at its best and it’s wonderful to see people now enjoying the lovely outdoor space we have created.”

The BID secured £10,000 of Lottery funding to help pay for the work, with multiple partners including groundworks firm Danaher and Walsh, 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.

A collaboration of volunteers from Northampton Town Council, the Royal British Legion, University of Northampton, Northampton College and local businesses joined forces to spruce up the area and clear litter as part of The Big Help Out – a national day of volunteering to mark the Coronation of King Charles III.

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.

The project saw benches and bins repurposed and upcycled following their removal from the Market Square. Railings and gates have been freshly painted while there are sections dedicated to Northampton Town Council’s Bloom campaign and the Climate Change Forum.

The theme for the space is influenced by the King’s passion for sustainability, biodiversity and the natural world. Volunteers have planted sustainable, perennial planters and a wild flower and grass bed, established flower beds have been pruned to encourage the growth of existing wild flowers and the whole site has given a bright and clean new look, with the addition of a stunning floral wellbeing mural, designed by Sarah Hodgkins and painted by college and university students.

Other highlights in the new-look gardens include poetry-based artwork by James McInerney that forms the basis of a trail for this year’s Northampton in Bloom campaign.

For more information visit