Plans submitted to build £2m heritage park and children's playground next to former Northampton Castle site
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Plans have been unveiled to revive Northampton's rich history by building a £2m heritage park and children’s playground in the heart of the town.
Proposals have been submitted by West Northants Council (WNC) to build the facilities on top of the current Chalk Lane car park using £2m of Town Funds money.
The planned heritage park lies in the shadow of Castle Mound, once the site of the historically significant Northampton Castle.
The park's vision and objectives include creating a heritage green space, providing safe footpath routes between Marefair and Chalk Lane, incorporating a new play area with a historical theme, adding new flower beds and seating areas, celebrating archaeological remains, recognising connections between surrounding buildings and public spaces, and protecting heritage assets to enhance the settings of Northampton Castle, St. Peter’s Church, and Castle Hill Reformed Church.
One of the key updates includes the addition of a new lawn area, designed to mirror the original castle ditches. This space, named Castle Ditch - Lawn, will serve as a community gathering spot and play area, with occasional events and amenities. Portions of the lawn will be left as wildflower meadows to support local wildlife, according to plans.
The renovation also includes the introduction of elevated community gardens, providing Spring Boroughs residents with a unique space for socialising and gardening. These gardens will resemble medieval vegetable and herb gardens, adding to the park's historical charm, according to plans.
Families can look forward to the Castle Orchard Playground, inspired by the former cherry orchard within the castle walls. Featuring a castle theme and accessible play equipment, the playground promises fun for all ages, says WNC.
For those interested in history, the Castle Walk will guide visitors along the original castle wall's footprint. Along the way, they'll encounter totem poles and a heritage timeline, which will be lit up at night, offering glimpses into the park's past.
To enhance the park's historical feel, four statues will be relocated along the Heritage Walk, welcoming visitors and adding to the park's ambiance.
Other updates include a small ruin rebuilt as ironstone paving, and a Heritage Mural which will explain historical moments of the site in a series of paintings, according to WNC.
Visitors will be greeted by a curved ironstone seat wall and Gateway Feature 'doors' upon arrival, marking the entrance to the Inner Bailey of the former castle.
Lastly, the Castle Mound will be adjusted to improve sightlines and access to the green space.
The site currently suffers from antisocial behaviour but WNC believes these plans have the ‘potential to unlock the under utilised green space’ and by making it a more used area, it will ‘reduce/remove the existing antisocial behaviour’.
Work is set to be complete by April 2025, according to WNC.