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Northampton Forward Board terms of reference

Objectives and Remit

Northampton Forward is an informal partnership with the primary role of co-ordinating and driving forwards the integrated regeneration and growth within Northampton, including Northampton town centre.

It acts as the Town Deal Board for Northampton and shall be responsible for establishing a strategy and delivery framework for the future development to achieve this vision.

The delivery of the regeneration framework shall be carried out by Northampton Forward’s core partners:

  • West Northamptonshire Council
  • South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership
  • The University of Northampton
  • Private Sector Representatives
  • The Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner
  • Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce
  • Royal and Derngate
  • Community Representatives
  • Northampton Town Centre Business Improvement District
  • and other Partners as and when needed

A secondary and inter-linked focus will be on the place marketing of Northampton, including developing a place marketing strategy and promotions plan for the town.

Please refer to the Northampton context set out in Appendix 1 below.

Northampton Forward’s role shall be to:

  • establish a strategic vision / masterplan for Northampton town centre
  • provide leadership for the achievement of the vision and secure agreement from key partners and stakeholders
  • take forward the vision / masterplan into packages for development to attract inward investment
  • foster partnership working between members and to align strategies and plans of partners to support the strategic vision / masterplan
  • determine resources needed to take the vision / masterplan forward in both capacity and capability terms and work to secure and/or contribute to the necessary resources
  • oversee the programme / project management requirements of the project, receiving reports on progress and expenditure
  • advise and comment on the business plans for each development package
  • determine what supporting sub-groups are needed to progress the vision / masterplan
  • oversee the delivery of a place marketing strategy for Northampton
  • engage with and promote the Northampton Brand in order to the improve perceptions of the town and wider area
  • the development of a Town Investment Plan for Northampton

The Board shall be supported by a series of sub-groups focusing on heritage, communications and the community. Board members will Chair these sub-groups and feed in to the main Northampton Forward Board.

Membership of Northampton Forward

Northampton Forward shall comprise the following representatives:

OrganisationRepresentative numberMember
West Northamptonshire Council2 representativesCllr Jonathan Nunn
Cllr Dan Lister
South East Midlands LEP1 representativeHilary Chipping
Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce1 representativeLouise Wall
The University of Northampton1 representativeBecky Bradshaw
The Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner1 representativeStephen Mold
Trickers (Private Sector Representative)1 representativeMartin Mason (Chair)
Royal and Derngate (Cultural Representative)1 representativeJo Gordon
Grosvenor Centre (Private Sector Representative)1 representativeJames Roberts
Community Representative1 representativen/a
Northampton Town Centre BID1 representativeBrendan Bruder
Member of Parliament for Northampton South1 representativeAndrew Lewer
Member of Parliament for South Northamptonshire1 representativeAndrea Leadsom

The Chair of the Board shall be a private sector representative.

Representatives shall be at Member, Board or Chief Officer level, or an equivalent senior level, and shall be supported by officers / staff from their respective organisation, the number and seniority of which shall be determined by their respective organisation.

When vacancies become available on the Board, the role and purpose of the vacancy will be reviewed and updated if necessary to ensure duties and responsibilities of the role are up to date. To ensure the Board is representative of the communities it serves, when a vacancy becomes available there will be an open Expression of Interest process where appropriate.

The Council will also proactively reach out to inform diverse groups and individuals via various channels. Applicants will be assessed based on their interest for the role, skill set, experience and what networks they represent across Northampton.

Other public and private sector organisations shall be invited to attend Board meetings with the agreement of the Chair or the majority of core members.

Board Members shall nominate a named person to serve in their absence.

The Board will be supported from Officers from the Council.

Role of all participants

Members of the partnership shall be expected to:

  • be of sufficient seniority and authority within their organisation to enable them to contribute to the Northampton Forward meetings in a significant way
  • ensure that decisions within their respective organisations are made in a timely way to be able to meet the agreed programme plan and progress Northampton regeneration including activities and deadlines as set out through the Future High Street Fund bid
  • provide information, data and other material to the meetings as appropriate to inform discussions and decisions
  • ensure that the activities of the partnership are widely promoted and disseminated within their organisations and cascaded to members, officers and staff as appropriate

Town Deal Board

The Northampton Forward Board will act as the Towns Deal Board which will oversee the key areas of work that sit under the Towns Fund.

The role of the Board is to develop and agree an evidenced based Town Investment Plan, develop a clear programme of interventions and coordinate resources. Towns Deal Fund items will be covered on every Northampton Forward Agenda going forward.

Northampton Forward will develop a Town Investment Plan for Northampton to bid into the Governments Towns Fund.

The Northampton Forward Board shall be responsible for the following areas in the development of their Towns Deal Board and Town Investment Plan:

  • upholding the Seven Principals of Public Life (the Nolan Principles)
  • developing and agreeing an evidence-based Town Investment Plan
  • establishing a clear programme of interventions
  • embedding arrangements in local plans (where appropriate) and undertaking Environmental Impact Assessments and fulfilling duties on public authorities under the Equalities Act, in particular, and the public sector equality duty
  • coordinating resources and engaging stakeholders
  • ensuring communities’ voices are involved in shaping design and decision making at each phase of development
  • ensuring diversity in its engagement with local communities and businesses
  • helping develop detailed business cases
  • overseeing each step of agreeing a Town Deal and overseeing compliance with the Heads of Terms Agreement with Government

Government have set requirements for the membership of Town Deal Boards, the current representatives on the Northampton Forward Board have been selected to meet the criteria set by Government.

Northampton Forward shall be responsible for providing a strategic steer to the programme and for providing financial oversight. However, individual funding agencies shall be legally accountable and responsible for the specific finances of each project or activity, informed by any recommendation made by Northampton Forward.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

The Board will recognise and encourage the valuable and enriching contribution that people from all backgrounds and experiences bring to the city and make an effort that membership of the board is reflective of the town. All individuals should be treated on the basis of merit and without prejudice.

Meetings will be made accessible to those attending in terms of scheduling and in meeting any communications needs so that all taking part are able to make full and active contributions.

The Board therefore, aims to actively promote equality of opportunity and freedom from discrimination on grounds of age, cultural background, class, disability, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, faith, part-time worker, language, union activity, and an individual’s health status.

The Board encourage chief executives and senior leaders to consider the ways in which they can support the board’s equality and diversity aims and enable a broad range of voices by offering their place to their deputies when appropriate to do so, particularly those with protected characteristics, and delegating decision-making powers to these individuals in such cases.


West Northamptonshire Council will take the lead on communications activity in line with the key messages to be agreed by Northampton Forward.


The Chair of the Board shall be a private sector representative, elected by the Board on a bi-annual basis.

The Chair is required to uphold the Nolan Principles:

  • selflessness - The Chair should act solely in terms of the public interest
  • integrity - The Chair must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work - They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends - They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships
  • objectivity - The Chair must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias
  • accountability - The Chair are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this
  • openness - The Chair should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing
  • honesty - The Chair should be truthful
  • leadership - The Chair should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour - They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs

The Chair shall also:

  • ensure the Board is managed effectively, attending pre-meets with the Council when required and ensuring all papers are cleared and issued in a timely manner
  • lead the Board in achieving its objectives, maintain an overview of activity, and champion and support partnership working
  • ensure that decisions are made by the Board in accordance with good governance principles
  • sign the Heads of Terms Agreement with Government

Board Meeting Management


West Northamptonshire Council shall provide a person to carry out the secretariat for Northampton Forward.

Wherever possible the agenda shall be circulated at least 5 working days before each meeting, and the minutes shall be circulated no more than 5 working days after each meeting.

Wherever possible, each meeting shall include an agenda item outlining future work programme and an update on current projects and activities.

Papers for the Northampton Forward Board meetings will be published on the West Northamptonshire Council website within 10 working days of the board meeting, unless they contain exempt information under Schedule 12A Local Government Act 1972 (as amended by the Local Government (access to information).


Meetings shall take place every 4 weeks or other such frequency as the Board decides.


For the Board meeting to be quorate a minimum of 4 representatives shall be present from the partners.

Declaration of Interest

Each member of the Northampton Forward Board is required to declare any personal, prejudicial or disclosable pecuniary interest (direct or indirect) in any agenda items. Where an interest is prejudicial or is otherwise a disclosable pecuniary interest the member shall take no part in the discussion or decision making about that item. All such declarations must be included in the minutes of the meeting.

Board members shall duly sign and return the Northampton Forward Board Declaration of Interests on an annual basis. A register of interest will be maintained by the Council.

The Council will provide guidance on the pecuniary and non-pecuniary interests individuals must declare, outline the process that Board members must follow for declaring interests and explain the process for requesting an exemption.


Where possible Board papers shall set out if an item is confidential. However, Board members are reminded to respect the confidentiality of issues that may be discussed at Board meetings, and shall not disclose information which could be construed as confidential.

Appendix 1 - The Northampton Context

Northampton is the largest town in the county of Northamptonshire has a population of 228,650 and supports 153,000 jobs. It forms the centre of a wide travel to work area centred around the M1 and is one of the key towns within the Oxford to Cambridge arc.

Northampton is also well placed geographically, being on the main rail routes as well as equidistant between both Birmingham and London. Northampton has been and continues to be a thriving town with tremendous opportunity for growth.

The last structured economic growth strategy was developed some years ago spanning a period from 2008 to 2026 and is in urgent need of updating against a backdrop of continuing inward investment enquiries, as well as the broader macro growth developments linked to the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford corridor.

It is important as the key settlement in the county that a strategic approach is developed that both complements surrounding areas and also acts as a catalyst for future growth opportunities across the county.

Northampton is already home to a number of high quality businesses in the area, including providing headquarters for:

  • Avon Cosmetics
  • Barclaycard
  • Carlsberg UK
  • Churches Shoes
  • Cosworth
  • Nationwide Building Society
  • St Andrews Healthcare
  • Travis Perkins

It is also home to one of the largest Enterprise Zones in the country (121 hectares). Northampton has a rich cultural offer including the recently refurbished Delapré Abbey which showcases almost 1,000 years of the town’s history.

Investment in Northampton’s heritage continues with a £6.7 million extension and refurbishment of Northampton Museum and Art Gallery which will complement the existing Cultural Quarter offer featuring the highly successful Royal and Derngate theatres, Northampton Filmhouse, 78 Derngate, and the stunning Victorian Guildhall.

However the area is not without its challenges and, like a number of towns and cities across the UK, in recent years has seen its town centre change as the nation’s shopping habits move away from traditional high street shopping and move to multi-channel model with a focus on experiential shopping and visits to specific out of town sites.

The physical regeneration of Northampton town centre is an essential component and catalyst to the regeneration of Northampton as a whole.

Following submissions into the Future High Street Fund and Towns Fund, Northampton were awarded £33.5 million to deliver the regeneration activity in the town centre.

Last updated 01 March 2024