South Northamptonshire Council and West Northamptonshire Development Corporation (WNDC) have acquired nearly 30 acres of land in Towcester town centre, which will double the size of the recently opened Water Meadows.
They are investing a combined £150,000 to acquire and restore the land, making even more of the grade II registered historic park available for the local community to use and enjoy. Formerly part of the Easton Neston Estate, around 28 acres of the Water Meadows were previously restored and opened to the public in April 2010. They were unveiled alongside the renovated Bury Mount, a Scheduled Ancient Monument that has been at the centre of Towcester since medieval times.
Together, they are the centrepiece of the Moat Lane regeneration project, which received formal planning permission earlier this year and will see the creation of new shops, offices and community facilities and library.
Councillor John Townsend, portfolio holder for Environmental Policy at South Northamptonshire Council, said: “Since this land was opened to the public a year ago, it has been widely used and appreciated, not only by the people of Towcester, but also visitors to the area. I feel that this second tranche with its lovely river bank and views across to the race course is even more beautiful, and certainly the two together make for a spectacular stretch of countryside open for all.”
Peter Mawson, Chief Executive of West Northamptonshire Development Corporation said: “the Water Meadows are a crucial part of the plans to transform Towcester town centre. They will provide opportunities for walking, recreation and educational visits for generations to come. We’re pleased to support South Northamptonshire Council make even more of this local asset available to the community”
The Water Meadows cover an area of open grassland which goes from Northampton Road right through to the Race Course. The River Tove is to the north, Silverstone Brook to the west and the Mill Stream to the south and east. It is an important ecological habitat, home to over 50 plant species, and wildlife ranging from butterflies and birds to bats and water voles.
As well as making the Water Meadows available to the public, there have been a number of enhancements, including seating, footpaths and a pedestrian bridge linking the parkland with Bury Mount. Following the latest acquisition, planning permission will be required to enable public access to the new land. It is anticipated that the expanded Water Meadows will be open to the public in summer 2011.