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Cabinet approves future plans for County Hall

15 February 2024

County Hall

Future plans to lease out parts of the former County Hall buildings in Northampton aim to ensure a positive future for these important heritage buildings.

County Hall, along with other historic buildings like the Guildhall, holds significant importance in the town and county's history and forms an integral part of West Northamptonshire Council’s (WNC's) collection of heritage assets. However, after a thorough review of WNC office space and assets, it became clear that there is a surplus of office and administrative meeting rooms within these historic sites, which could be better utilised whilst reducing costs on the public purse.

In a move aimed at ensuring these buildings have a productive future and have the best chance of retaining their character and historic significance, the Council’s Cabinet has approved the following:

  • Judges’ Lodgings: The property will be transferred on a long leasehold basis, with potential use as a hotel or private residence, maintaining its character as a dwelling.
  • Centre Block and Former Constabulary Block: the Council will seek to transfer this on a long leasehold basis for restoration and conversion, probably to flats, to maximize the property's potential, ensure its preservation, and allow people to enjoy its historic features.
  • Sessions House and Front Block: whilst elements may be leased for commercial food and drink operations, the Council will continue to investigate alternative uses which retain public use of these historic spaces and enhance the regeneration of the town centre seeking to attract and increase future footfall. Separately, work will be pursued on options for greater public access to experience the history of justice in Northampton.
We appreciate the significance of our cherished County Hall buildings and the role they play in our town and county's history. This week, we announce a decision aimed at securing their preservation and beneficial future use.

Our goal is threefold: first, to increase public access and enjoyment of these heritage assets, allowing them to play a valued role in our community. Second, by transforming County Hall, we contribute to the preservation of our heritage and the regeneration of Northampton. Thirdly, we make good use of public money and reduce our operating costs, allowing us to put more money into services for our residents.

By approving the transfers, we pave the way for restoration, preservation, and where appropriate, conversion, ensuring a brighter future for these significant landmarks.

This decision aligns with our commitment to the community, aiming to enhance public use and enjoyment of County Hall's rich history. We will continue to engage with the public and stakeholders throughout this process, ensuring transparency and collaboration.
Councillor Jonathan Nunn, Leader of West Northamptonshire Council

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