Everything you need to know about a £12m leisure hub

Computer-generated mock up of Stack, as a building with coffee shops on the ground floor.
Stack could open in spring 2025 [STACK]

Work on a new £12m entertainment hub in an empty town centre shopping centre will begin in October.

The Stack Leisure venue will be created in the old Peacock Place building in Northampton that overlooks the Market Square.

But how did we get here and what will Stack bring to Northampton town centre?

What are the plans?

Newcastle-based Stack Leisure submitted plans for a retail, food and performance centre on the site former Market Walk site last year.

The company will invest £8m into the project, with a further £4.2m of support from West Northamptonshire Council.

The authority approved the project at a meeting in March

What will Stack bring to the town centre?

According to plans, the lower ground floor will largely be given to entertainment ventures, such as children's entertainment, fitness events and live music.

Bar areas, food hall operators, and retail units will also have a place in the building.

The proposed opening hours are 08:00 to 02:30 on any given day and the company will also create around 250 jobs, according to the applicant.

West Northamptonshire Council said Stack was an "exciting project" which would "transform" the town centre.

Stack Leisure has already opened similar projects elsewhere in England, with sites in Lincoln and Seaburn among those it has already opened.

What will it replace?

Stack will move into Market Walk, formerly known as Peacock Place in Northampton town centre.

Positioned between the Market Square and Abington Street, it was formerly a small indoor shopping centre featuring retailers including a Next store and a cafe.

However, Market Walk closed down in 2021 and has been shut to the public ever since.

Market Walk on Abington Street
The former Peacock Place, renamed Market Walk, runs between Abington Street and the Market Place [LDRS]

Has there been any opposition to the plans?

When the planning application was discussed by the council, Liberal Democrat councillor Jonathan Harris said he was disappointed the modern design of the venue was not in keeping with the historic market square, which dates from 1235.

"It just frustrates me really that we have this beautiful historic square and that over the ages we haven't taken account of these historic assets," he said.

Charles Manners, a Conservative, agreed, saying the area had been "absolutely ruined" over the years.

He added that the hub would do nothing to "enhance" it visually, but that he did support a development that would "bring life" back to the town centre.

But following its approval by planners, the new entertainment and leisure venue could be open next spring.

What other plans are there for the town centre?

Last year, politicians from the ruling Conservative group on West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) declared a £33m revamp would move Northampton town centre "ahead of the curve" and Stack is part of those plans.

A scheme to transform Market Square is nearing completion, with it set to reopen on 20 September.

Meanwhile, plans for the former Greyfriars bus station have been revealed with the council saying it will become a "new vibrant neighbourhood" within the town.

Plans to replace the empty BHS and Marks & Spencer department stores on Abington Street with flats and smaller retail units were unveiled in 2022.

According to We Are Northampton, external work is expected to begin in 2026 and complete in 2032.

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