Climbing boulder, an open plaza and spacious gardens: the alternative vision for the Northampton Castle site

Plans for a spacious play park and plaza on the former Castle House site have been proposed by Springs Voice.
Plans for a spacious play park and plaza on the former Castle House site have been proposed by Springs Voice.

A castle-shaped climbing boulder, street plaza and affordable housing with back gardens are all part of a neighbourhood forum’s vision for a Northampton town centre site.

The Springs Voice forum unveiled its proposals to turn the land once occupied by the Castle House office block in Marefair into a vibrant heritage park yesterday - despite the county council’s plans to put around 30 houses there.

The plans were drawn up as an alternative to the council’s proposed housing scheme, which go against the authority’s original promise to turn the area into “public space and urban parkland.”

Chairman of the forum Clive Ireson, said the job will now be to convince the county council to adopt their vision, which they say would provide vital open space for children and celebrate its location on the site of Northampton Castle.

He said: “We haven’t had our scheme costed, but the whole plan isn’t an expensive one.

“There is a play area so groundwork would need to be done, and there would be affordable family housing.

“But I would have thought the county council would be able to draw on the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop this.

“They promised us an urban park, and this is what we are pressing for.”

The centrepiece of the Springs Voice proposals would be a “heritage play area,” which celebrates the historical site.

Northampton Castle was thought to be one of the most famous Norman castles in England and was built under the stewardship of Simon de Senlis, the first Earl of Northampton, in 1084.

The play area could feature “wooden jousting horses” a “play castle” or flag pennants, according to the proposals.

It would also feature a climbing boulder for children, sculpted in the shape of the Northampton Castle ruins.

The new proposals went on show at the Springs Family Centre in Tower Street and already have the backing of the Friends of Northampton Castle group.

The challenge will be to convince the county council to effectively drop their own plans.

Earlier this week a county council spokesman said; “We are continuing to consider possible uses for the land and will be presenting a business case in due course.”