Artists’ impressions of a large linear park in the centre of Northampton have been revealed as part of the masterplan for the town.
Last week Northampton Forward revealed the details of its submission to the Government’s Future High Streets programme.
The scheme is seeing hundreds of town leaders across the country bidding for a share of the pot to spruce up urban areas and give trade a boost.
Here in Northampton, civic leaders are bidding for a £25 million share of the fund – part of which we now know would be used to build an indoor food hall in Market Square.
Today, further details of the submission will be revealed at an exhibition – which will, among a host of proposals, showing visuals for a long ‘linear’ park covering the length of the former Greyfriars bus station.
Modern apartment blocks would sit either side of a long boulevard – creating part of an ‘Eastgate Residential Quarter’ between Greyfriars and Abington Street by utilising the former Marks and Spencer site.
The town’s police station would be relocated from Campbell Square next to the new park - as well as the two courts.
Leader of Northampton Borough Council, Councillor Jonathan Nunn, said: “People say to us they would like to see more green spaces in the town centre. We have a very green borough with lots of parks dotted around the area but very little greenery.
“So I was pleased when I saw these ideas.”
The park would effectively cover the Greyfriars road, which, Councillor Nunn says, would help to make Greyfriars feel more connected to the rest of town.
Better walkway links would be created in between the new residential buildings between Greyfriars and Abington Street.
The plans were drawn up by consultants 5plus on behalf of Northampton Forward – the board of town leaders in charge of submitting costed proposals to the Government.
In terms of the proposals for Greyfriars, they mark a huge departure for the previous, canned, plans for the four-acre bus depot site by Carter Endurance. That scheme promised either a multiplex cinema alongside retail and leisure – but was shelved in because the developers could not deliver housing on the site.
But the exhibition today, Councillor Nunn says, is less of a blueprint for Northampton’s future – and more a vision for how it could look with the aid of the Government funding.
An online consultation about the proposals will launch today and the borough leader said it was crucial to receive as many opinions as possible.
“These are raw ideas from the architects,” continued Councillor Nunn. “We are not prioritising any of these schemes. Even if something here seems completely impractical, which I don’t believe it does, all these ideas are out there for people to give their view.
“We are not necessarily looking to persuade people for or against them.”
The more detailed ‘vision’ going on display at the University of Northampton today proposes a number of radical changes to the town centre.
A rundown of the key proposals can be seen in our gallery here.
Among them are plans to ‘reinstate’ Wood Street.
Wood Street used to run between Abington Street and Greyfriars but was lost when the Grosvenor Centre was built in the 1970s.
The plans propose effectively knocking through part of the Grosvenor Centre to reinstate the street and create a new external arcade along it.
New entrances would then be created to serve the Grosvenor Centre.
The exhibition is set to take place at University of Northampton's Learning Hub between 10.30am and 2pm today.