Petition appeals for town character to be preserved

A PETITION aimed at preserving and enhancing Daventry’s market town character has been set up by a trader.

The petition was started by Jenny Patching from Second of May at Serendipity in Sheaf Street following the recent unveiling of the proposed £75 million Mulberry Place retail development.

It is asking for Daventry’s historic market town character to be taken into account in new developments planned for the town centre.

Mrs Patching said: “For a long time people have been coming into the shop and observing that we’re losing the town’s market character.

“I’ve grown up in Daventry and I would say that we’ve already lost three-quarters of it.

“The heart has been ripped out of the town. The only place in the town centre you’d say still looks like a market town is Sheaf Street.

“A decision was made 25 years ago to improve Sheaf Street – we’ve saved it and made it into a nice shopping street full of good shops.

“If we can do it here, why can’t we do it for the rest of the town?”

The petition is particularly focused on the plans for the new retail development on the current Primrose Hill car park.

The proposed Mulberry Place will be linked to the High Street by knocking through where Argos currently stands.

Artist impressions released last month show a modern-style development, something Mrs Patching believes will jar with the ‘market town’ character of Daventry and cost it more of its uniqueness.

She said: “We’re not against development in the town centre, and we’re not against developing this site either.

“We can still have the big name shops and the new buildings for them.

“The problem is that the images they have produced, the designs, are not in keeping with Daventry being a market town.

“We have two markets a week, plus the monthly farmers’ market, so we are definitely a market town still.

“I think the designs should be more sympathetic to what we’ve already got and enhance the town.

“We also need to improve the High Street. There are still a lot of nice buildings in the High Street, but if you look at many of the shop fronts you’d never know.

“We need the council to enforce a code so that the shop fronts make you feel like you’re in a market town by insisting on things like nice signs, not illuminated ones.

“If you make a street nice for people to walk along, then more people will do so, and that, in turn, means more potential customers.

The petition is available to sign in Serendipity in Sheaf Street.