Government and Politics:
Northampton is administered by both Northampton Borough Council, run from May 2007 for the first time by the Liberal Democrats, and also Northamptonshire County Council. From 2005 the latter has been controlled by the Conservative Party. The Borough Council runs services such as housing, waste collection and smaller planning items in the Borough. The County Council looks after social services, education and libraries in the whole county. Since April 2006 major planning decisions such as large housing schemes and new roads have been the responsibility of the WNDC.
Northampton is represented in Parliament by two MPs:
Brian Binley, Conservative, (Northampton South)
Michael Ellis, Conservative, (Northampton North)
Both of these constituency boundaries changed significantly for the 2010 General Election with the creation of a new constituency, South Northamptonshire, which takes a large part of the south of Northampton borough.
Northampton is near junctions 15, 15a and 16 of the M1 London to North Yorkshire motorway. The A45 and A43 can be accessed by a partially completed ring road. The A14 is close by to the north.
Northampton railway station is on the Northampton Loop of the West Coast Main Line, and has regular services to London and Birmingham provided by London Midland. Virgin Trains provide one commuter service to London and a departure from Birmingham New Street late at night. These two Virgin Train services are scheduled to be Pendolinos.
Sywell Aerodrome is the nearest airfield which has recently been upgraded with a 1000 metre concrete runway. For international links, East Midlands Airport and Luton Airport are quickly accessible by the M1; Birmingham International Airport via the M1/M6 and also by train.
In the town, buses are operated by Stagecoach Northants and First Northampton from the Greyfriars bus station. Stagecoach provide travel to outlying villages and towns during the day. National Express cover routes between major towns. There are good local links to Daventry, Wellingborough, Oxford, Milton Keynes, Rushden, Kettering, Corby and Market Harborough.
Northampton is the terminus of an arm of the Grand Union Canal. The arm connects to the River Nene and from that to the River Great Ouse and the North Sea. No longer used for freight, the waterway is now popular with anglers and narrowboaters. Principal outlying villages on the canal include Gayton, Blisworth, Braunston and Stoke Bruerne.
Northampton had a horse-drawn tramway which opened in 1881. The system was extended in stages and taken over by the council in 1897 and named Northampton Corporation Tramways. It was electrified in 1904, but closed in 1934 mainly as a result of competition from motor buses which were introduced in 1929. Two of the original tram shelters are preserved: one at the Racecourse park and another in Kingsthorpe opposite the Cock Hotel.
The above has helped maintain Northampton as the centre of England's shoemaking industry. Visit Bradshaw and Lloyd's website to view the latest range of shoes from Loake shoes, Sanders shoes, Trickers shoes, Sebago shoes and Bradshawand and Lloyd shoes.