Northampton Central Area Action Plan 2013


Appendix: F.  The Character of Shopping Frontages 


Schedule of Shopping Frontages Primary Frontages 

Abington Street (East) A (1-29), B (31-45), C (47-61), D (63-77b)
Abington Street (West) A (2-6a), B (8-32), C (34-96)
Drapery (West)
Drapery (East)
Grosvenor Centre
Market Square (East)
The Parade
Peacock Place

Secondary Frontages

Abington Street (East) – (79-85)
Abington Street (West) – (98,116)
Abington Square (North) – (1-29)
Abington Square (South) – (2-24)
Bridge Street (East) – (1-41)
Bridge Street (West) – (2-60)
Derngate (North) – (1-23)
Derngate (South) – (2-8)
Fish Street (East)
Fish Street (West)
George Row
Gold Street (North)
Gold Street (South)
Market Square (South)
Market Square (West) Mercer’s Row
Sheep Street (West)– (5-15)
Sheep Street (East) – (1-20a)
St Giles Street (North) – A(15-29), B (31-65)
St Giles Street (South) – A(2-30), B (34-72)
St Peter’s Walk (West) – (1,17)
St Peters Walk (East) – (2-20)
St Peters Square
Wood Hill


Table F.1 Primary Shopping Frontage


Current Role

Future Role

Abington Street West & East

Abington Street is the dominant retail pitch for outdoor shopping in Northampton town centre. The pedestrianised shopping street mixed with the predominant presence of key national retailers such as H&M, Primark and Marks & Spencer reinforce Abington Street’s status as a prime location for retailing. The occupiers with the exception of the more recent addition of some amusement arcades have a strong draw across the range of the population and are a signifi cant part of the vitality and viability of the street. Shop windows are generally open showing activity inside, or have interesting displays. Local retailers, banks, other services and eating and drinking occupy a limited number of units.

To reinforce the role and importance of Abington Street as a key shopping destination in Northampton town centre by ensuring that the street retains and attracts key A1 national multiples. Abington Street should also look to sustain complementary high volume usage A2 and A3 uses that have good shop window displays or allow viewing of activity inside and are in keeping with a street allocated as Primary Shopping Frontage. It is not considered that these frontages are suitable for amusement arcades, experience of which has shown that they detract from its character by appealing to a small sector of society, have a comparatively low number of visitors, present ‘dead’ frontage and are shown to lower people’s perceptions of quality of Northampton’s overall retail offer and character. Critical to developing a successful retail circuit through Abington Street is making signifi cant public realm improvements and the future maintenance of the shopping environment.

Grosvenor Centre Upper Level = One Frontage, Lower Level = One Frontage

The Grosvenor Centre is the premier site for A1 retailing in the Primary Shopping Area offering comfortable indoor shopping facilities and the majority of the Primary Shopping Area’s national retailers such as House of Fraser, WH Smith and Boots. It also contains the  key convenience anchor store in Primary Shopping Area; Sainsbury’s.

The Grosvenor Centre will remain the premier site for A1 retailing in the Primary Shopping Area following the

completion of its planned redevelopment and expansion. The Primary Shopping Frontage will be extended to cover the new streets built as part of the extension of the Grosvenor Centre.

Market Walk Upper Level and Lower Level

Peacock Place provides modern indoor shopping facilities. It currently under performs in terms of signifi cantly adding to the draw of the Primary Shopping Area. This is despite possessing national retailers such as Dorothy Perkins, Next and Laura Ashley. Poor performance can be attributed its internal layout and high concentration of vacant units on both the upper and lower fl oors of Peacock Place.

By fronting Market Square and Abington Street, possessing a large amount of A1 fl oorspace and containing some notable national high street multiples Peacock Place has the potential to become a major draw for the Primary Shopping Area. Solving problems with the internal layout and encouraging pedestrian movement through Peacock Place will increase its attractiveness to prospective retailer investors and shoppers alike. In the future Peacock Place should look to maintain its status as Primary Shopping Frontage and focus on improving its comparison goods offer.

Table F.1 Primary Shopping Frontage


Current Role

Future Role

Drapery East & West

Drapery, a key north-south route is anchored by Debenhams and possesses national retailers such as H Samuel Jewellers and Game Station. However, overall, Drapery possesses a comparatively weak A1 retail offer for a street of such historic strategic importance and high footfall. Outside of the national retailers the varied offer of Drapery, the high a number of vacant units and the tired look of the public realm all fail to add to the draw of the location for retailing.

Increase the A1 retail offer of Drapery to the desired level for a street allocated as Primary Frontage (as outlined in Policy 14). Drapery should also continue to provide suitable A2 and A3 uses which are infl uential in attracting pedestrians such as Barclays Bank, Nationwide Building Society and McDonalds. Bringing use back to the vacant units at Drapery is also critical to improving the character and function of the street. The vitality and attractiveness of Drapery will improve from an investors and visitors perspective following the redevelopment of the Grosvenor Centre to the north and the redevelopment of the Fish Market and adjoining buildings, together with the redevelopment of part of the Drapery (as outlined in Chapter 6).

The Parade & Market Square East

Together The Parade and the eastern frontage of the Market Square possess the vast majority of the A1 frontage on the Market Square. The two frontages possess national retailers such as Phones 4u, Boots and Millets along with popular A4 and A5 uses such Burger King and a JD Wetherspoon Pub House. At present these two frontages are the most vibrant on Market Square in terms of attracting pedestrian footfall and providing active frontage onto the Market Square itself.

The Parade and the eastern frontage of the Market Square should look to

maintain their predominant A1 retail offer and provide further uses which add to vibrancy and character of the Market Square in the day and in the evening. The uses within these two frontages should look to complement the ambition to encourage restaurants and cafes

to locate on the southern and western side of the Market Square. In seeking to improve its quality and attractiveness to a wider range of people it is considered that bookmakers and amusement arcades are unsuitable for these frontages.

Table F.2 Secondary Shopping Frontage


Current Role

Future Role

St Giles Street North & South

St Giles Street runs east-west parallel to Abington Street from the Guildhall to York Road. St Giles Street is  characterised by a large number of independent retailers and cafes, making the Street an important and unique element of Northampton’s retail ‘offer’.  National chain stores are not represented on St Giles Street.The quality of the public realm and townscape around the Guildhall provides an attractive shopping environment for shopper at the western end of St Giles Street. At present the legibility of routes north to Abington Street via Ridings Arcade and Fish Street is poor.

St Giles’ Street should look to retain and strengthen its independent and niche A1 retail and A3 restaurant/café offer. It is not considered that the St Giles Street frontages are suitable for A2 uses such as Bookmakers and A5 uses as they are not in keeping with the niche function of the St Giles Street and could be more appropriately accommodated elsewhere in the Primary Shopping Area. By keeping its niche and independent retail character St Giles Street will provide a healthy and varied southern route to the retail circuit, when compared to the offer of other streets on the retail circuit and elsewhere in the Primary Shopping Area.

Market Square South & West

At present the southern and western frontages onto Market Square have a weak leisure and retailing offer. The presence of the three bookmakers on the western frontage reduces the amount of active frontage on to what should be a vibrant public space. Barclays Bank and Halifax Bank are the only major draws of the two frontages in terms of generating footfall. In terms of boosting the vitality and vibrancy of the Market Square in the day and in the evening the current offer of the two frontages is unsuitable.

The southern and western frontages have a key role to play in improving the vitality and vibrancy of the Market Square in the day and in the evening. These frontages should seek to attract further A3 and A4 uses in order to complement A1 on other sides of the Market Square. It is not considered that bookmakers, amusement arcades and beauty / hair salons are suitable for these frontages.

Sheep Street East & West

Sheep Street consists of a mixture A1, A2, A3, A4 and A5 uses. The A1 offer of Sheep Street is low order (newsagents and charity shops) and fails to add to  the draw and attractiveness of the street to visitors and potential investors. The maintenance and quality of the public realm and shopping frontages along the east and west of Sheep Street is poor. Despite the poor environment, lack of focus and quality in terms of uses Sheep Street still possesses a favourable amount of pedestrian activity due to its proximity to Greyfriars Bus Station, Mayorhold car park and residential areas to the north.

Sheep Street should look to consolidate its status as Secondary Frontage in the Primary Shopping Area by improving the shopping environment and attracting investment from A1 retailers to complement existing A3 and A5 uses. Capitalising on the potential of Sheep Street in terms of increasing its draw may be easier following the redevelopment of the Grosvenor Centre and or the completion of the redevelopment of the Fish Market and adjoining buildings (as detailed in Chapter 6).


Current Role

Future Role

All Saints Square (Wood Hill, George Row & Mercers Row)

Shopping frontages around All Saints Square offer a limited amount of comparison and convenience A1 retailing. Much of the draw of All Saints Square comes from the pleasant shopping environment and the quality of the architecture provided by All Saints Church and the character of the shop fronts. The recent additions of national chain restaurants Nando’s and Prezzo  at Wood Hill have improved the vitality of All Saints Square into the evening.

All Saints Square should look to maintain its status as Secondary Frontage by possessing a mix of uses. In the future shop frontages surrounding All Saints Square should also look to capitalise

on the presence of Nando’s and Prezzo by attracting further high quality / family orientated A3 and A4 leisure uses.

Derngate South & North

Derngate is made up of a range of different uses including niche and independent A1 retailers (similar to those found on St Giles Street) and a number of A3 and A4 units which complement the nearby Royal Derngate Theatre.

The minimal number of vacant units on Derngate illustrate that it is currently performing well.

Derngate should look to maintain its current role and function of supporting the niche retail offer of St Giles Street and providing quality and family A3 and A4 uses around one of Central Area’s key tourism and leisure hub, the Royal and Derngate Theatre.

Fish Street

Fish Street is the linking route north and south between Abington Street and St Giles Street and is largely comprised of A3 and A4 uses. The A1 retail offer is limited to low order shops such as newsagents and hairdressers.

Pedestrian footfall on Fish Street is higher than would be expected given the limited draw of the units it possesses.

Fish Street should look to attract further retail A1 units that complement the offer seen on St Giles Street in order to become an effective part of the outdoor retail circuit in the Primary Shopping Area.

Bridge Street East & West

Bridge Street possesses the Central Area’s highest concentration of A4 uses along with a number of complementary A3 and A5 uses. Consequently Bridge Street plays an important role in the evening / night time economy. The A1 retail offer of Bridge Street is limited, with A2 Estate Agents being the other major uses. Consequently pedestrian activity and the overall draw of Bridge Street in the daytime is low.

Provision of A1 retail use and or A3 cafes at Bridge Street should be sought in order to increase pedestrian activity in the area in the daytime and stop its daytime offer from becoming even more peripheral from rest of the town centre. Bridge Street’s role in the evening economy should also be supported but

managed appropriately to not discourage investment from daytime retailers and operators.

Gold Street

Gold Street is the fi rst major shopping street pedestrians reach if arriving

in Northampton by train. Gold Street comprises a varied offer of national multiple discount stores, charity shops, places to eat and hot food takeaways. The lack of higher order national retailers and the varied, low quality nature of

the offer fail to add to the draw of Gold Street as a major shopping destination in the Central Area.

Gold Street should look to maintain its status as Secondary Shopping Frontage, limit the addition of takeaways in particular as they often present dead frontage in the day.


Current Role

Future Role

St Peters Walk & Square

St Peter’s Walk provides an entrance of small, low order, independent A1 units to St Peter’s Square. These units add vitality to and provide active frontage on the entrance to St Peter’s Square but don’t necessarily add to the trade draw

to the area. St Peter’s Square comprises of a number of large out of town style retail units occupied by national retailers such as Argos, Iceland and Peacocks. The peripheral nature of St Peter’s Square to the main Shopping Frontages of the Grosvenor Centre and Abington Street, and the large surface car parking at the Square allow it to function more like an out of town centre retail park.

The offer and role of St Peters Square should be maintained as the pedestrian activity it attracts adds to the vitality of nearby Gold Street. St Peters Square also adds to the retail offer of the Central Area as it accommodates national retailers not currently present elsewhere in the Primary Shopping Area.

Abington Street East & West

Located at the northern end of the Abington Street these two frontages offer a small proportion of A1 retailers than would be expected to be found on a street designated as Primary Shopping Frontage. The mixture of A1, A2 and A3 uses on these two frontages fail to add to draw and attractiveness of Abington Street as the prime pitch for outdoor retailing in the Primary Shopping Area.

The future offer of these two frontages should be strengthened in order to complement the rest of Abington Street and not the predominantly low order retailing found at Abington Square, which these frontages are beginning to resemble.

Abington Square North & South

These frontages provide the retailing gateway to the Primary Shopping Area and the north eastern entrance to the Central Area. The low order A1, A3 and A5 retailing predominantly serves the surrounding residential areas, and it does not form part of the retail offer that would attract visitors and tourists to Northampton.

These frontages should look to maintain a suitable amount of A1 retailing to support the needs of the surrounding residential communities.

Ridings Arcade

The Ridings provides a small stretch of indoor retailing as well as being a key, if underused, pedestrian link between St Giles Street and Abington Street. The northern entrance to the Ridings provides access to national chain stores Sports Direct and H & M, whilst the small units at the southern end of the Ridings look to complement the niche character of St Giles Street.

As an integral element of the retail circuit the A1 retailing offer of the Ridings should be maintained, along with the efforts that have been made to ensure occupants of units complement the

offer of surrounding streets. Efforts should be made to improve the legibility and potential for the public to use The Ridings as route between Abington Street and St Giles Street.