In 2019, we were commissioned by Northampton Borough Council to prepare a Feasibility Study for the former Castle House site and neighbouring Chalk Lane and Dodridge Street car parks on Marefair. The Council’s brief was to explore development opportunities for this key gateway site, based around residential use and generous public open park space.
A low rise, high density residential building, arranged around a private courtyard was developed to generate the desired amount of new housing at a scale suitable for the location. The courtyard design ensures the building has no rear, and gives back to the street on all sides. Passive surveillance and ground floor activity with front doors is created as a result.
To enliven the streetscape along Marefair and activate a prominent corner leading on to the reconfigured and pedestrianised Chalk Lane, ground floor co-working and communal lounges are provided.
Alongside the building programme, significant public realm is planned with the creation of a new public park. The Heritage Gateway Park celebrates and enhances numerous historic sites and buildings located in this part of Northampton, and provides valuable external social space for residents of Spring Boroughs and visitors to the town alike.
Extensive public consultation and community engagement was undertaken by us and the council during the design process. This phase of consultation was fundamental in developing a programme and arrangement for the site which reflects the views and aspirations of the adjacent neighbourhoods and wider town.
Our proposals for Marefair form part of West Northamptonshire Council’s formal business case submission to the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government’s Stronger Towns Fund.