Bury Mount is part of the wider Moat Lane regeneration project. The site was purchased by South Northamptonshire Council and restored alongside 12 hectares of Grade II* Watermeadows as the first phase of this project.
The restoration is deeply rooted in its unique history. Completed in April 2010, the project reconnects the site both physically and culturally with the town centre. The site has been reprofiled and steps and paths provided to improve access and encourage exploration. Subtle artworks and design details tell the story of the site’s past and enhance Bury Mount’s distinct identity. The inclusion of a new footbridge over the adjacent millstream enables a crucial off-road link from the town centre, through the wildlife-rich Watermeadows to the wider footpath network beyond.
Towcester residents have been heavily involved throughout, contributing to the design of the project and providing feedback on design ideas and proposed uses. Planting for Bury Mount, which included a wildflower meadow using a locally specific seed mix, has encouraged new and diverse insect and bird life to the area. A key objective of the area’s ongoing management is to retain and enhance this diversity.
However, although Bury Mount has provided a much needed and loved public green space, it has also played a fundamental role in helping to ensure that the wider Moat Lane regeneration project is delivered. By bringing the site into public ownership and dealing with the complex restoration challenges it presented, the rejuvenated Bury Mount provides a high quality first phase of development which will help attract inward investment to the Moat Lane regeneration area. It is intended this area will become the civic and cultural focus of the town.
Restoration has helped create an attractive centrepiece around which private investment can occur. In order to ensure that projects are attractive to the private sector it is vital that as much ‘risk’ from the project is removed. Investing in Bury Mount assisted in de-risking through a number of different methods; by ‘gap funding’ an element of pure cost, demonstrating the commitment and intent of public sector partners, demonstrating credibility and dynamism of the project team, raising awareness and improving the appetite for investment and overcoming statutory challenges such as dealing with scheduled ancient monuments. All of this combined helped to secure the attraction of a number of leading private sector developers to bid to for the project.
The project recognised the significance of Bury Mount within the urban structure of the town and took the opportunity to restore the site in order to unlock barriers to commercial, leisure and environmental interests.
Brownfield, commercial and industrial
Xanthe Quayle Landscape Architects
South Northamptonshire Council
Reprofiling and restoration of a medieval motte and watermeadows
The scheme features as a case study in the LI's 2011 publication 'Local Green Infrastructure: helping communities make the most of their landscape'