A disused office block next to Northampton’s railway station could be demolished to make way for a park designed to celebrate the town’s former castle.
The new park would be part of a plan to create a ‘heritage gateway’ next to the town’s new railway station, which is currently being built.
The gateway would celebrate both the town’s former castle, which once stood on the station site, and nearby St Peters Church.
The five-year project would also see the creation of a heritage trail, exhibitions in the railway station and improved landscaping and lighting around the area.
Northamptonshire County council’s cabinet member for economic growth, Councillor Andre Gonzalez de Savage (Con, East Hunsbury & Shelfleys) said: “The heritage gateway will raise the profile of Northampton’s history, highlighting the stories behind the origin of the castle, the county town and its people.
“As well as providing an enhanced sense of place and pride in the town and county’s heritage, this project will build on the work already underway to develop the new railway station, and will help to improve this key route into Northampton for residents, visitors and businesses alike.”
If county councillors approve early plans for the scheme next week, an initial £1.7 million investment would be made to kick-start the project.
Northampton Borough Council’s cabinet member for regeneration, Councillor Tim Hadland (Con, Old Duston) said: “We feel that developing this site is an important step in improving the appearance of the town centre and the key route into Northampton, making everyone’s travels a pleasant experience.
“The addition of the heritage trail aims to uncover our proud and rich history including stories of monarchs, knights and quality craftsmen that once lived here. This trail will also emphasise several important heritage focal points attracting visitors to Northampton and informing local’s about the town’s past and hidden gems.”
The scheme has also been welcomed by the Friends of Northampton Castle.
Group member, Dr Marie Dickie, said: “This is an exciting moment for all of us. Northampton has neglected its important medieval heritage for far too long, but now we can really make Northampton’s past part of our future.”