• 21 March 2024


Plans to breathe new life into an empty Midlands shopping centre have got one step closer, after West Northamptonshire councillors gave the ambitious scheme the green light.

Leisure developer STACK’s planning application to transform the former Market Walk Shopping Centre was approved this week (Tues 19 March), which will see the creation of an exciting entertainment hub with independent street food outlets, bars and a dedicated space for interactive games.

The scheme also includes a main stage, which will be used for live music and entertainment.

STACK completed on the site in August 2023 and the planning approval takes it one step forward, license approval is still pending but once granted the deisgn development can be progressed to the next stage.

The scheme is being supported by West Northamptonshire Council, which is providing up to £4.2m investment through the *Towns Fund, with a further £8m investment from STACK.

It will complement other transformations taking place in the town centre, including in the historic Market Square, Abington Street and Fish Street.

Neill Winch, CEO of STACK said the company was delighted to have been granted planning permission.

“We are thrilled that we can now start to move forward with our plans to bring STACK to Northampton and to create an exciting leisure destination for local residents and visitors,” he said.

“STACK will play a vital role in the plans to regenerate the Market Square area – of which Market Walk Shopping Centre is a part – and which will make a massive, positive difference to the local economy.”

Cllr Daniel Lister, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Town Centre Regeneration and Growth at West Northamptonshire Council, said: “I am delighted that plans for STACK’s first facility in the Midlands have been given the go ahead and look forward to seeing works begin to set up this innovative food and leisure space in the heart of Northampton Town Centre.

“STACK offers something truly unique for our town centre and will see footfall increase significantly, attracting more families and people who might not normally have visited the area.

“Together with our other regeneration projects, the leisure economy in Northampton is set to rocket and provide a diverse mix of entertainment, food and drink, and retail opportunities which will benefit residents, local businesses and traders.”

The plans for a STACK in Northampton are the latest in a number of announcements made by the company as it rolls out its master plan to become a nationally recognised brand.

STACK Lincoln will be opening in the next few months and the creation of a new home for STACK Newcastle at Worswick Chambers in the city centre is currently underway with STACK Seaburn at Sunderland continuing to attract huge visitor numbers.

Recently it was announced that STACK would also be partnering with Newcastle United Football Club and the club’s front-of-shirt partner, Sela ,to deliver a ‘best in class’ fan zone at Strawberry Place, close to St James’ Park.

Also currently in the pipeline are STACK schemes in Durham, Bishop Auckland, Whitley Bay, Carlisle, Manchester, Wigan and Sheffield, which are a mix of container villages and repurposed underused sites.