A "run-down and tired" 785-year-old market square could get a new fountain, seating and trees under revamp plans.
They were drawn up following a public consultation by Northampton Borough Council on the town centre's future.
A final design will be produced by the end of February and submitted as part of a bid for up to £25m from a government fund for high streets.
Leader Jonathan Nunn said: "It needs a refresh. It's a bit run-down and tired but we're really proud of it."
Last year, the authority formed a board called Northampton Forward to tackle some of the town's long-standing issues.
It published a plan for the town centre including the Market Square and the main shopping area, Abington Street.
Mr Nunn said people wanted more trees in the town, and that enhanced quality materials would allow "the beautiful architecture around the market... to shine again".
He also said he "did not like" the current fountain, installed in 2014 at a cost of £50,000.
"It doesn't add to the ambience in any shape or form," he said.
Instead, 61% of the 1,069 people who responded to the consultation wanted to see a "linear water feature".
About two thirds felt there should be permanent market stalls, which Mr Nunn said would stop anti-social behaviour and provide "a much more attractive vista".
The council hopes the improvements will be funded by central government.
He said: "There is limited commercial money to bring in so it pretty much has to be supported by public money."
He hopes the new market square will be ready in "about three years".