TOWN CENTRE SURVEY: The shops and restaurants you want to see in Northampton...and how you would make it better

The Chronicle & Echo's Save Our Town Centre survey gave a fascinating insight into what people want from the town centre.

We asked readers what was the one thing they would do to make the town better, if they could pick one retailer to come to the town which would they pick and which restaurant or cafe hey would like to see open up.

We received a wide range of responses to the question of what would people do to make the town better.

Mainly you want to see the town centre made cleaner: 142 responses – more than a tenth – said the one thing they would do to improve the town would be to give it a good tidy.

Many of you craved a better variety of shops. A total of 71 answers suggested the town lacked a range of stores to fulfil your shopping needs.

Some of you focused on the need to make the town a more welcoming business environment, with 68 of you asking for lower rents to help businesses survive.

Nearly 50 of the 1,300 responses asked for improvements to be made to Abington Street and Market Square.

And just over 50 of you called for a better leisure offer in some form.

But the answers below here show just how creative our Chron readers are.

Discount offers, mini-golf arenas, nightclubs and compulsory flower boxes feature in just a small handful of the responses - all of which have been handed to the borough council to mull over.

If you could pick any retail chains to come to open up in Northampton town centre, who would they be?

Unsurprisingly, John Lewis topped our poll of high street must-haves here in Northampton.

The department store chain, which already has large outlets in Leicester and Milton Keynes, received 352 requests - beating IKEA into second place on 110.

Spanish clothing brand Zara was a close third with 97 votes, while House of Fraser – which had an outlet in the Grosvenor Centre up until 2014 – still remains a popular choice among our readers.

If you could pick any national food outlet, cafe or restaurant to come to Northampton, which would it be?

Cantonese fresh food chain Wagamama was the runaway winner in this category, receiving 163 votes from Chron readers. Following up in second was the American-diner Five Guys, which allows foodies to customise burgers from a range of toppings.

Lunchtime favourite, Pret a Manger was your third favourite in our poll.

What do our independent shops and cafes offer that the big chains can’t?

The personal touch is what keeps you coming back to our independent retailers according to our poll.

Of the 954 responses we received for this question the top five phrases were “personal service”, “customer service”, “more personal”, “something different” and “better service”, marking a big win for the bosses of our independent shops, bars and cafes.