Upton, Northampton

Upton in Northampton is a historic market town and service centre with an urban population of around 189,500. In 2001, Northampton embarked on a project to create an urban extension that would promote best practice in sustainable urban growth.


The area identified for the extension was a site allocated in the Local Plan at Upton on the south-west edge of the town, less than three miles from the town centre.  The Upton Framework Plan received planning approval in February 2003.

The development will comprise 6,400 dwellings, 13,320 sq m of retail floorspace and major open spaces. The first phases of the development are on site and when complete will provide around 1,000 homes, together with a primary school, local shops and live-work units. Commercial offices, retail and community uses will form a local centre. 
Upton images © Ivor Samuels


The development at Upton is the result of a partnership between Northampton Borough Council, English Partnerships (EP) and The Prince's Foundation. In 2001 the partners appointed a design team and together formed the Upton Working Group.


The approach to developing Upton was worked up through a series of Enquiry by Design exercises.


A plan for a sustainable community was prepared using a design code. Although the 2003 Design Code was not adopted by the local authority, it became the landowner’s framework for delivering the plan objectives and the basis for choosing house builders.  The Design Code steers Upton’s overall character; building character will be influenced strongly by individual builders and architects. 
Upton challenges conventional suburban layouts by creating a network of connected streets and displays a range of features that aid accessibility and movement for all users. Upton’s hierarchy of streets has been thought through carefully, is sympathetic to the scale of the development and aims for generally high quality materials and installation. The scale and form of the buildings that line the streets aim to gives them an urban feel. This helps give a positive impression to residents and visitors that this is a quality place with a strong design ethos.

Learning from the Past and Present

Key features of the Design Code include, among many other things, the requirement for a wide range of dwelling types and for the design to draw inspirations from the Northamptonshire vernacular. 
Further information:
Brian Human, Vice-Chair, HTF
22nd February 2010
For further details please see www.cabe.org.uk/case-studies/upton-phase-one