Take a closer look at Northampton Forward's vision for the town centre

We take a closer look at the 'masterplan' for Northampton town centre going on display today.

Tuesday, 14th May 2019, 6:24 pm
Greyfriars.
Greyfriars.

As part of a bid for a £25 million share of a Government high streets regeneration fund - Northampton has drawn up a bid showing how the money could be used. The wide-ranging plans going on display at the University of Northampton's Learning Hub between 10.30am and 2pm today propose drastic changes from Drapery through to St Giles Street. So let's take a look at them in more detail.

Northampton Forward is proposing that buses no longer stop in Drapery.
A facelift would be given to the shop fronts in Drapery and Marefair.

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A large linear park would cover what is currently a four-acre patch of rubble on the former bus depot site. Traffic currently running along Greyfriars would be re-routed.
Currently, the busy six-lane crossing from Sol Central to the base of Gold Street serves as a hard border between the town centre and the train station. The proposals suggested calming Marefair traffic and making the crossing more pedestrian-friendly.
One of the key proposals is to create a food hall in Market Square to attract artisan businesses into the centre. But they also suggest getting rid of a building on the corner of the square currently housing a Paddy Power betting shop, among other businesses.
Proposals are to offer money to the landlords of buildings in Sheep Street to improve the shop frontages around the bus station. The vision also includes the conversion of the former Corn Exchange - last used as the Ballestra nightclub - into a restaurant and flats.
Architects identified that the empty units in Sol Central could be used for different purposes - such as a gallery of a hub for start-up businesses.
Long talked of plans for a heritage gateway project on the former castle site form part of the proposals.
A new streetscape will be given to Fish Street including landscape and lighting - encouraging the cafe culture there.
The area between Abington Street and Greyfriars could become the Eastgate residential zone - the architects suggest. Wood Street, which used to run through where the Grosvenor Centre is now, would be reinstated. Outdoor trading would also be encouraged in Abington Street.
A vacant office building at 24-30 St Giles Street could be turned into a hub for start-up enterprises.