ABSTRACT

Northamptonshire lies in the heart of England, midway between London and Birmingham, covers 236,913 ha and has a population of 604,400 (mid-1996 estimate). The county has good communication links, with direct rail services to London, Gatwick Airport, the Midlands, the North West and Scotland, and major road access via the M1, M40 and the A14 (M1–A1 link road). Over the past fifty years there has been considerable development and population growth in the county, particularly in the main towns of Corby, Daventry, Kettering, Northampton and Wellingborough. Nevertheless, Northamptonshire remains predominately rural, with agricultural land covering 80 per cent of the county. The former major local industries of farming, shoe-making and steelworking have been increasingly replaced by high-technology, service and engineering enterprises. Northampton is the main urban centre, with a population of 189,700. Northamptonshire County Council receives assistance from a number of EU programmes, and meets the criteria for eligibility of the RETEX Community Initiative. The council was chosen as a case study primarily because of the Trans-European Transport Network (Euro-route 28) passing through the county, with the aim of assessing whether this designation had increased development pressure in its vicinity. This chapter considers the organisational aspect and then goes on to discuss the preparation of plans and strategies, the development of networks, the nature of European programmes operating in Northamptonshire, and the impact of the Trans-European Transport Network.