Rushden Town Centre has been identified as a priority area for regeneration, with the High Street recognised as a key area to concentrate the start of the regeneration.

A Regeneration Strategy, developed by the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment using the Enquiry by Design Process, involved a Community consultation in February 2010. Through this, a vision was created for the Town Centre which acknowledges its strengths, as well as its heritage and character.

WSP’s multi-disciplinary team included urban designers, landscape architects, civil engineers, and Project Manager, using the PRINCE 2 methodology and structure. WSP’s Urban Design and MGWSP’s highway design teams worked in tandem alongside stakeholders to redesign Rushden’s High Street.

Local disability groups’ concerns had about shared space; liaison throughout included construction of trial sections of corduroy strips (creating marked transitions without trip hazards) for the groups to test, ensuring the design would be accessible to all.

The project objective is to redesign and regenerate Rushden High Street, keeping the town vibrant for future generations whilst working within the Town Centre Vision. The following elements are identified as key public realm improvements for the High Street:

–  Refocus the Town Centre
–  Build on the unique qualities and historic character of the Town Centre
–  Promote walkability and sustainable transport
–  Private realm and shop front improvements to be encouraged

These elements have been created by using:

–  High quality and appropriate paving materials.
–  Paving detail to accentuate buildings of interest.
–  Reduced Street clutter by assessing street furniture needs.
–  Simplified parking and loading arrangements

WSP Urban Design and Highways team together are able to provide a design to the client that is successful in its ability to refocus the town centre of Rushden. A refocused, pedestrian friendly town centre will attract more people, increasing footfall and the viability of the High Street itself.

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