'Let's make it a destination for people': Favourite plan chosen for Market Square revamp by Northampton public
New water feature, stepped seating and row of market stalls and trees included in preferred 'vision'
One of three 'visions' to revamp Market Square to become a hub for Northampton town centre has come out as the favourite.
Just over 1,000 people took part in a consultation on the plans revealed by the Chronicle & Echo in December, with the results published yesterday (Wednesday, February 12).
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.
Landscape design experts Gillespies will now use the consultation results to form a final layout to be send to the Government as part of a funding bid.
Northampton Borough Council cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise Tim Hadland believes the public consultation results shows how much people care about the town.
“There were a range of comments on subjects including plans for a water feature, concerns around anti-social behaviour and cleanliness, the area’s future as a market, and its heritage," he said.
“While we will give these serious consideration, it’s vital that we are ambitious if we are going to carry out work on the Market Square to make it a destination for people."
Market Square is one of five 'quarters' of the new masterplan for the town centre, revealed last year by Northampton Forward, the group leading the project.
Half of respondents to the latest consultation backed having trees to the south-west of the square and between the Grosvenor Centre and Abington Street.
One per cent more favoured market stalls in a linear style interspersed with the tree planting to grouping them together in the centre of the square.
Around two thirds felt there also ought to be additional permanent stalls somewhere in the Market Square and a similar number favoured stepped seating.
A linear water feature was the preference but, of the seven per cent who made extra comments, the majority raised concerns about the proposal after the fountains were a 'disaster'.
Councillor Hadland, who is also a Northampton Forward board member, said the consultation showed is 'absolutely vital' the long-term maintenance of the square’s features are guaranteed.
Those who responded were heavily in favour of a range of events including specialist markets and events in the square while many supported a café spill-out and night-time leisure.
There were an even split of male and female respondants, with the biggest age range being between 45 and 54, 17 per cent were over 64 and eight per cent were aged 18-24.
Councillor Hadland said: “The results of the survey are heartening and we’re now looking forward to devising more detailed plans."
The feedback in the report will be used by Gillespies to devise even more detailed designs which will form part of a submission for the Future High Streets Fund bid.
If the bid is successful, further design work will be carried out and finalised designs will be the subject of further consultation.