Multi-million pound planned redevelopment of Northampton's Market Square set to take another step closer

Since January 2019, vacancy rates in Market Square and the surrounding area have increased by 11%

Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 4:06 pm
Updated Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 4:42 pm
An artists' impression of the preferred option for the Market Square revamp. Photo: Northampton Forward

The multi-million pound planned redevelopment of Northampton s Market Square is set to take another step closer today (July 13).

An update on the proposed project set to be discussed by West Northamptonshire Council today at the cabinet meeting starting at 6pm.

In December, it was announced that Northampton was one of 73 successful towns to be awarded Future High Streets funding of £8.44m by the government.

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The project is expected to be completed by March 31, 2024..

Cabinet is now being recommended to approve all necessary appointments to deliver the project including the design team and contractors.

A report to the cabinet states: 'The Market Square lies at the heart of Northampton and was considered by the town’s population as one of the most attractive and impressive parts of the town centre.

'The square has suffered from a lack of investment, with the market continuing to suffer from a declining number of stalls and the stalls being a focal point for anti-social behaviour into the evening.

'The Town Centre Masterplan public consultation demonstrates that the Market Square is a priority for the residents of Northampton to transform this area of the town.

'The lack of investment in the area has led to reduced footfall. Since January 2019, vacancy rates in Market Square and the surrounding area have increased by 11% (prior to the pandemic), highlighting the need for urgent intervention. This has been further exacerbated by the Covid 19 Pandemic.'

The design proposals for the project include fixed permanent market stalls, an events space and a water feature which will be installed as the central attraction that provides everyday animation within the square.

The whole square will be resurfaced with a combination of new robust paving and re-using the existing cobble setts as a clear feature. New street furniture, lighting services, drainage and public art will also be included.

The recommendations ask the cabinet to: (1) 'Note the work to date on securing £8,427,625 for the redevelopment of Northampton Market Square and the next steps that are required to take forward this project.

(2) Approve the use of the ring fenced Future High Street Grant Funding of

£8,427,625 for the Northampton Market Square public realm improvements

(3) Delegate authority to the executive director of place, economy and environment in consultation with the section 151 officer, the monitoring officer and the cabinet member for economic development, town centre regeneration and growth to:

- appoint the design team to develop the Market Square proposals

- appoint the principle contractor that demonstrates best value and quality'

Under the 'Master Programme' heading, the report states: 'The FHSF project must achieve final completion by March 31st, 2024.

'Surveys and the appointment of the Design Team will commence as a priority in July 2021.

'Detailed design and engagement with various stakeholders including the market traders and Town Centre Management Team will commence immediately in order to achieve milestones in the master programme.

'There will be a 12-14-month design and planning process whereby the masterplans will be worked up in more detail by the Design Team and submitted to West Northants Development Control for approval. This process will take three-four months.

'After a competitive procurement process, works will commence in summer 2022 and take approximately 12-18 months to practical completion.'