Northampton Market Square renovation likely to begin Summer 2022 with £8.45m grant
The plans include a water feature, permanent stalls and public seating - but it could take up to two years.
An £8.45m grant to renovate Northampton's Market Square with permanent stalls, seating and a water feature has been secured.
In 2018, Northampton threw its hat into the running for the Future High Streets Fund, a £850m Government pot to renovate and rebrand English towns.
Now, the Northampton Forward Board has been allocated £8.45m that will be used for a series of long-promised revamps for the town's Market Square.
A spokesperson for the West Northamptonshire Unitary Council - which was formally awarded the grant on behalf of the Northampton Forward board - said the project would likely begin in Summer 2022 and be completed in early 2024.
The board initially applied for £12.2m to also renovate Waterloo House on the square, but this has been postponed after only £8.45m was awarded.
Chair of the Northampton Forward Board councillor Jonathan Nunn said: “It’s great to have this final, firm confirmation of our funding bid for the improvement of Northampton’s wonderful market square.
“The prosperity of all our towns in West Northants is of utmost importance, and as we look forward to a continued return to a more normal life, we know we have to help these towns to meet the needs of modern living.
“This means making them places that people want to visit, increasingly for experiences and pleasure and not just for shopping as perhaps they did before.
“Now we can press ahead with plans for the square, we’ll be asking the public for their views again, to ensure we create a space that everybody feels proud of, which honours, not undermines its noble history and brings back its vitality.”
It comes after over 1,000 people responded to a consultation about what they wanted to see on the historic square following the project.
Two-fifths of the respondents preferred the option with a linear water feature, an avenue of trees and permanent market stalls with a stepped seating section.
Communities Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP added: "This funding is part of wider support we are providing to communities and businesses, to protect jobs, support the most vulnerable and ensure no one is left behind as we recover from pandemic.
"This investment will make a huge difference to towns and cities across England and transform themselves in desired places to shop, visit, live and work.
"The Future High Streets Fund will support towns, communities and businesses as we get back to enjoying the best of what the high street has to offer."
The Market Square project will formally need to be put to the West Northants planning committee to approve works.
The confirmation of funds on May 18 comes after Northampton was provisionally awarded the money in December 2020 under the assertion that the town's bid needed "further work".
The Northampton Forward Board is a partnership between the West Northamptonshire Unitary Council, Northampton Town Council and nine other county organisations.