Students, trees and new businesses could make Northampton neighbourhood street a thriving shopping centre, says group

Early-door plans have been drawn up by local business owners to revitalise St Leonards Way.
Early-door plans have been drawn up by local business owners to revitalise St Leonards Way.

A plan to restore a Northampton residential street to its former glory days as a high street shopping experience has been put to the borough council.

Local shop owners say St Leonard's Road, Far Cotton, is a prime spot to be Northampton's newest district shopping centre.

St Leonard's Way is within walking distance of the new university Waterside Campus and the newly-refurbished Delapre Abbey.

St Leonard's Way is within walking distance of the new university Waterside Campus and the newly-refurbished Delapre Abbey.

They say by replanting trees, attracting new businesses and working with students they can make the residential street "an extension of the town centre" - all under a new name, St Leonard's Place.

Geroge Karayannis, chairman of the Association of Far Cotton Enterprises, which is spearheading the plan, said: "Hopefully the development of St Leonard's Road will generate a totally new spirit in the area for change and business.

"It is in walking distance of the new university Waterside Campus and the newly-refurbished Delapre Abbey, which will both be nationally important when they are ready. St Leonard's can be a shopping district for both of them."

An early-doors plan setting out how to redevelop the road has been submitted to planning submitted to planning officers at the borough council, but no formal planning process has begun.

St Leonard's Road was once lined with trees as this photo from 1964 shows. Courtesy of the Far Cotton History Group. Thanks to Robin Puyer.

St Leonard's Road was once lined with trees as this photo from 1964 shows. Courtesy of the Far Cotton History Group. Thanks to Robin Puyer.

Its first step would include reshaping the pavement by planting up to 30 trees, reforming the junction with Cotton End and even bar HiMOs applications on St Leonard's Road.

Instead, the group wants to encourage homeowners and landlords to develop their ground floors into shops and rent out their second floors as flats.

Since 2017, there have been six applications to establish a HiMO in St Leonard's Road.

George said: "This is the first step to build a strong, independent and self-directed change-making association.

The Association of Far Cotton Enterprises wants to "return St Leonard's to its former glory".

The Association of Far Cotton Enterprises wants to "return St Leonard's to its former glory".

"It's a natural connection to the town centre and would improve the living standard throughout the area. We hope to move towards a plan of action in stages."

For more information on the ACFE's plans for St Leonards, visit their website.