In early December, the regeneration of Northampton Town Centre took an exciting step forward. Deetu, working with West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) and architectural firm Studio Egret West, launched the first stage of engagement to ask the community to help shape the future and revamp the vacant Greyfriars site, the largest brownfield opportunity within West Northamptonshire.
Now two weeks into the engagement, over 1,000 people have shared their views on the emerging vision. They have shared their ideas on the future of the area, ideas for temporary uses of the site while it is being developed, and many personal memories of Greyfriars in past years. Not only that, but a third of all participants have now opted in to receive future updates as the plans evolve.
The site boasts a prime location at the heart of the town, next to the ongoing transformation of the historic Market Square and redevelopment of the former Marks and Spencer and BHS units. The central location provides a unique opportunity to transform this part of the town centre and have a positive impact on the wider area.
Residents, visitors, businesses, and community organisations are being asked to provide their ideas for the future of this area, and to celebrate the heritage of the site by sharing their memories of Greyfriars from years gone by.
Josh Dickerson, Deetu Co-Founder and Engagement project lead, praised the efforts so far:
Having reached this milestone of over 1,000 responses in just two weeks highlights the significance of regenerating Greyfriars to the people of Northampton.
Paired with our strategic engagement methodology, this has enabled us to foster genuine inclusivity and accessibility, truly representing the region, whilst ensuring meaningful feedback and participation.
Through engaging with the community and local stakeholders at this early stage, it’s great to hear the ideas of local people informing the design moving forward, ensuring the successful regeneration of the site, and bringing the wider town along on this journey of transformation.
Feedback so far indicates that culture and craft should be at the heart of Greyfriars, with hundreds of ideas given about what form this could take. Some examples given include having workshops to rent, craft studios, music venues, independent retail space, and places for new artists and talent to start up.
Comments also suggest that it would be beneficial to have different generations living at Greyfriars, with multi-generational living including a mix of build-to-rent, build-to-buy, later living and student accommodation.
Landscaped park spaces, where people can gather, sit and relax are important to many who have responded to the survey so far. Play and playfulness form a core part of the vision. Hundreds of ideas have been shared about what this could look like, from interactive water features, art trails and outdoor games areas, to nature trails, outdoor gym equipment and play areas for children.
Walking and cycling routes, getting around the area, and making Emporium Way more inviting are key parts of the future of Greyfriars. The vast majority of respondents agree this is a priority within any suggested improvements in the area, to make it easier for people to get to Greyfriars. Some of these ideas include better lighting and signage, dedicated cycle routes and safer pedestrian access.
The online engagement launched on Tuesday, 5 December and will run through until Sunday, 7 January.
To view the emerging vision to amplify the area, and have your say, visit: ampnorthampton.com
The initial feedback collated from the first stage of engagement will be considered by WNC and a highly experienced multi-disciplinary team of architects, transport and commercial experts, to develop a vision by spring 2024 and launch a second stage of engagement.
Want to find out more on our approach to engagement at Greyfriars, and how we can enhance the value of your project? Please get in touch.