Northampton Borough Council requested the support of Turquoise Thinking to conduct a public consultation on three new visions for Northampton Market Square. This was in relation to a bid for the government’s Future High Streets Fund, a £675million fund to support the nation’s struggling high streets. New positioning for market stalls, stepped seating, event space, trees, and an interactive water feature were all included in the proposed redesign from Landscape design experts Gillespies.
Objectives & Research Methodology
The overriding research goal was to determine which of the three visions for Northampton Market Square were favoured by residents. During the six week consultation period members of the public were invited to participate via a number of different routes. A link to the survey was published in the Chronicle & Echo newspaper along with an accompanying article relating to the plans, and there was also a survey link on the Northampton Borough Council website. A consultation day was held in the square where surveys were completed on tablets, and the survey was also distributed to Northampton University. Additionally, there was an extensive social media push, including paid outreach.
Turquoise Thinking designed the survey in conjunction with NBC and managed the collection and analysis of results, gathering the opinions of 1069 members of the public.
Turquoise were a pleasure to work with and provided invaluable support to us. They helped us find a quick and effective solution to our problem and were very responsive and adaptive. Thanks to the team for all their hard work.
Deven Attwell, Senior Economic Development Officer
Based on the results of the consultation we were able to recommend the most popular design option, allowing Northampton Borough Council to move forward with their bid to secure funds for the rejuvenation.
There were more split opinions in terms of where the permanent market stalls should be placed but most agreed that they would like additional permanent market stalls regardless of the design. This highlighted the sentiment that the market square needs to continue its functional heritage. The additional events were favourably received (particularly specialist markets and Christmas events) but core to the rejuvenation was enabling a vibrant and thriving market.
Key concerns amongst the general public were also raised and it was widely agreed that the market square should be a welcoming space, accessible and usable by all, to host a wide range of events and to be maintained to a high standard.