Wellingborough is a medieval market town with many listed buildings, for which Growth Area Funding (GAF) and Local Transport Plan (LTP) funding were secured to deliver a series of public realm schemes, as part of a long term plan for around £20m of regeneration schemes developed by Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) and the Borough Council of Wellingborough (BCW) to improve the quality of the area and to revitalise key areas, encouraging new visitors, shoppers and businesses to the area, drawing on the town’s historic qualities.
WSP was commissioned to develop concept designs for ten key area schemes, and to take an initial two schemes to consultation, detailed design and construction with the available funding. The Sheep Street/Silver Street scheme opened in September 2010, with the Gloucester Place/Market Street scheme open in April 2011.
WSP’s multi-disciplinary team included urban designers, landscape architects, civil engineers, and Project Manager, using the PRINCE 2 methodology and structure.
Sheep Street/Silver Street a key vehicular route directly through Wellingborough Town Centre. Establishing the correct balance between shoppers and heavy vehicular traffic, the introduction of a bus lane was central to the success of the design. Bus signals, a narrow carriageway and wider footpaths slowed traffic and developed a calmer safer shopping environment.
Gloucester Place/Market Street is a small but important public space within the town centre, surrounded by bars and cafes, this is the ideal space for café culture and evening features. A bespoke lighting feature was designed and installed to give evening interest and a focal point. A semi shared space was created in Market Street with a narrow carriageway and wide footway demarcated with a level kerb feature. A bus and taxis only lane has been enforced using rising bollards preventing access to private cars; this has reduced the amount of vehicle travelling through the scheme.
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.
Approximate Map Location
WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff
MGWSP, Northamptonshire County Council / Borough Council of Wellingborough
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The aims for both projects were; to significantly improve accessibility and creating fully inclusive environments, reduce and rationalise street clutter, create a sympathetic environment, highlighting the town’s unique characteristics and reduce trips made by car and encouraging the use of public transport.
WSP UK and MGWSP
Northamptonshire County Council / Borough Council of Wellingborough
The materials palette was based on York stone and granite, but also high quality modern man-made products sympathetic to Wellingborough's heritage; additionally, the design had to comply with BS standards for durability, serviceability and skid resistance. The introduction of public art including a lighting sculpture and bespoke radial paving feature, use of wooden and stainless steel, high quality street furniture in suitable locations and urban tree planting.
Marshalls, CED Stone and Urbis
The design of public art including a lighting sculpture and bespoke radial paving feature was introduce into Gloucester Place to enhance it as a small public space and provide a focal point.
The projects location in a Conservation Area required careful design using an appropriate materials palette whilst still achieving satisfactorily robust construction fit for purpose for the varied intended uses including, public space, potential outdoor café usage and entertainment area, bus lane, delivery access and through traffic.
Varied construction methodologies were developed by the project engineers due to shallow utility services, cellars/basements and poor pavement foundation conditions. Detailed footway paving design was developed by both the landscape architects and engineers in both schemes to address sloping and uneven surfaces and a high number of shop front thresholds. Known flooding problems were resolved by increased collection using slot drainage.
MGWSP and PGR Construction