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Wellingborough East - Enquiry by Design 2002

An "Enquiry by Design" event was held in Wellingborough In March 2002. The purpose was to flush out and discuss with a wide range of stakeholders issues arising from a planned urban extension on 360 hectares of land east of the railway. The Council and the developers were committed to producing proposals through a "truly collaborative process involving key stakeholders with an interest in the future development of the town." (summary document)

An illustrative masterplan had already been produced, but various modifications were discussed at the event.

A big issue was how to integrate the development area with the existing town, separated as it is with a railway, river and floodplain.

Development around the railway station was thought to be a potential "quick win" which could also facilitate a better connection to the Wellingborough East development area (WEAST). One issue (that occurs in many such discussions) was the conflict at the railway station between parking and development land. The need to avoid parking absorbing scarce development land was clear, but the Strategic Rail Authority insisted on the retention of at least the existing amount of station parking. The possibility of a multi storey car park was discussed, but was thought by many to be too expensive.

The development of the station as a bus, taxi, rail interchange was nevertheless considered to be pivotal to achieving a sustainable transport solution for the urban extension. This would be a key point on a new high quality bus "spine" route linking the new development to the "station island" site, the station itself, and the town centre. This spine would incorporate the majority of the higher density, mixed use streets in WEAST.

The new development itself was to be modeled on "Urban Village" principles of sustainability, as promoted by the "Urban Villages Forum", which was part of The Prince's Foundation. In later years the scheme would more likely be expressed in terms of "ecotown" or "garden city" principles.

The event covered a number of other issues besides transport including:

  • Crime
  • Education
  • Health
  • Community
  • "Station Island" development (between the railway and the river)
  • Town park
  • Funding
  • Management
  • Timing and phasing

Over 80 people attended, representing a wide range of organisations, age groups and interests.

The current state of play of Wellingborough East can be checked at the Council's website here

LocationWellingborough England
Date(s)March 2002
Client(s)Prince's Trust, for Wellingborough Borough Council
Team(s)Tim Pharoah, Lesley Chalmers, Tom Lonsdale


Wellingborough, Wellingborough East, urban growth, urban extension, sustainable growth, enquiry by design, Prince's Trust

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