Cllr Jim Harker

Cllr Jim Harker, Chairman of Northamptonshire County Council has been involved in Chester Farm for longer than most and I am keen to find out how this project began.

Quantity Surveyor Jim Harker was elected as a County Councillor in 1979 and became Leader of Northamptonshire County Council in 2005. He has championed the economic development of the county, but he is also passionate about its heritage and was recently awarded a Heritage Angel accolade by Historic England for his work. He feels that Northamptonshire’s heritage is an important element in the county’s prosperity, and that it is key to embed its history into its rapidly expanding population growth.

It was in 1990, as the County Council’s Planning and Transportation Chairman, that Cllr Harker first became involved in Chester Farm. The route of the Wellingborough Eastern Bypass was under consideration and came across land owned by Whitworth Bros. The then Chairman of Whitworths, Bill Reynolds, and Cllr Harker conceived a plan whereby the road would come between the Whitworth development and the Scheduled Monument. Plans for its development as an archaeological resource would be prepared.

Unfortunately the plans lay dormant until 2004 when the County Council was able to buy the land with the welcome help of a £1.2m grant from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. Under his leadership, a project was then initiated which resulted in the Heritage Lottery Fund matching the County Council’s investment, and a £12.7m development of Chester Farm site agreed, which would allow for the restoration of the buildings and create extensive public access.

"It gave the county an opportunity to show to new residents that Northamptonshire was not just an ideal commuter location for London overspill, but a remarkable place for families to make their home, full of history and wonderful things" explains Cllr Harker "I believe that encouraging new residents and young people to learn more about their heritage is essential to a cohesive society, and the educational aspects of the project will allow for several very hands-on experiences. There is a wealth of knowledge and information about the site yet to be discovered and this is one of the most exciting aspects of it."

Chester Farm

Chester Farm

about 1 hour ago

Chester Farm on Twitter

Last day of our #archaeological excavation. It has been an amazing week. Here is a section of #Roman road. Thanks to all our #volunteers. https://t.co...

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Chester Farm

Chester Farm

about 23 hours ago

Retweeted Nadia Norman (@MummyNoonin): @mikecurtis1956 @ChesterFarmNcc It always seems to be you in these ditches @mikecurtis1956, what have you done...

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Chester Farm

Chester Farm

about 1 day ago

Michael J Curtis on Twitter

Goodness, that ditch seems to be rather deep, Mike. Is someone else holding onto you?! https://t.co/5gt0EgtDeg

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Chester Farm

Chester Farm

about 1 day ago

Tom on Twitter

We are glad to hear that she had fun. It has been great having different people with us each day, all of whom have played their part. https://t.co/H8R...

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Chester Farm

Chester Farm

about 1 day ago

Retweeted LeaderNCC (@LeaderNCC): @ChesterFarmNcc Volunteers washing 100s of finds Sheltering from the rain too. Well done everyone☆☆☆☆☆ team https:/...

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Chester Farm

Chester Farm

about 1 day ago

LeaderNCC on Twitter

Thanks Heather! We were delighted to show you the archaeology being uncovered and introduce some of our fabulous #volunteers. https://t.co/GGcGjGa5WT

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