Northampton Forward’s consultation on the Market Square revamp concluded earlier this month and the results are in.
Most of those who responded favoured option three which features stepped seating, a linear water feature and extensive tree planting.
There was a great deal of support (50 per cent) for both a grove of trees to the south-west of the Square, near Abington Street, and a parade of trees in front of the Grosvenor Centre and Market Walk.
Marginally more people (36 per cent) favoured market stalls in a linear style interspersed with the tree planting, compared with grouping them together in the centre of the square (35 per cent).
Around two thirds (65 per cent) felt there also ought to be additional permanent stalls somewhere in the Market Square, and a similar number (68 per cent) favoured stepped seating.
Most (61 per cent) felt a linear water feature would be preferable to one situated in the north-eastern corner of the square, close to the Grosvenor Centre entrance.
Cllr Tim Hadland, Northampton Forward board member and Northampton Borough Council Cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, said: “The results of the survey are heartening and we’re now looking forward to devising more detailed plans.
“Once we have these, they will form part of our submission to the Government for its Future High Streets Fund.
“There were a range of comments on subjects including plans for a water feature, concerns around anti-social behaviour and cleanliness, the area’s future as a market, and its heritage.
“While we will give these serious consideration, it’s vital that we are ambitious if we are going to carry out work on the Market Square to make it a destination for people.
“Gillespies, the architects we’ve commissioned, have been responsible for some breathtaking attractions and I would urge people to look at what they’ve achieved elsewhere.
“As many of the comments pointed out, it is absolutely vital that we ensure the long-term maintenance of the Square’s features is guaranteed.”
Those who responded were heavily in favour of a range of events including specialist markets, musical and theatrical performance, Christmas events, parades, festivals and art installations.
A large number also confirmed their support for café spill-out and night-time leisure which would help ensure the Square remained a bustling hub of activity after the shops and market close.
A good number of people took the opportunity to visit the display stall on the market to view the plans and discuss them with the designers and a total of 1,069 people responded to the survey. There was a good range of age groups, male and female and with or without children represented.
The feedback in the report will be used by Gillespies to devise even more detailed designs which will form part of the submission for the Northampton Forward Future High Streets Fund bid.
If the bid is successful, further design work will be carried out and finalised designs will be the subject of further consultation.