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New plan needed for Northampton market's future

Business, licensing and regeneration

30 September 2021

View of Market Square in Northampton

Northampton’s market has been at the centre of the town’s life for most of the last millennium and now needs a new approach so that it can continue into the future.

An £8.42m project, supported by the Government’s Towns Fund and overseen by Northampton Forward, is set to transform the Market Square into an attractive and welcoming environment.

This includes plans for improvements to the market stalls and to change how they are managed and maintained, along with a range of enhancements to the surroundings.

Plans also include improved landscaping, seating, a large-scale water feature and new and improved lighting to make Market Square a more attractive environment for people to spend time.

And with work due to begin next year on the area’s transformation, engagement will start soon with a series of workshops to inform the design of specific elements.

“Feedback we’ve had from people is that Northampton market looks old and tired and doesn’t cater for most people’s needs.
“In addition, the current market arrangements were costing the taxpayer around £120,000 per year, prior to the pandemic, to maintain which isn’t something that can afford to continue.
“Our aim is to attract a wide range of stall holders which will in turn bring in more shoppers from a greater variety of backgrounds. This is vital if our market is to thrive.
“We’re bringing in a team of market specialists to help us with this piece of work, and they’ll be engaging with those who will be most affected, including existing traders and surrounding businesses.”
Cllr Lizzy Bowen, West Northamptonshire Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Town Centre Regeneration and Growth

Future market vision

Quarterbridge, which has an extremely strong track record in revitalising markets, has been commissioned to create a vision and business plan for the market. It will deliver its report this autumn.

Arrangements in the new Market Square will see a reduced number of permanent market stalls that will remain in place, and temporary ones which can be put up and removed as required.

This will greatly improve the appearance of the area and allow for Market Square to be opened up for larger scale events which it would not currently be practical to host.

“Consultation with the public is hugely important as we are the people who will be shopping, working, socialising, and dining in the space for years to come. 
“I’m working with Quarterbridge and members of the community to make sure we get our voices heard and our needs met.

“The prospect of an updated, vibrant, Market Square which is accessible for everyone and used in a variety of ways, is well overdue and something the people of Northampton deserve.”
Laura Graham, Northampton resident and community representative on Northampton Forward

Designs for the new stalls are currently being developed and a planning application will be submitted this winter.

While work on the Market Square takes place, it will be impractical to keep the current market where it is, so alternatives are being considered.

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