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Initials Ideas

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Proposal Diagram

Council LDP Town Centre Boundary

Concentrated Study Area

Artizan Red Line Boundary

This project defines the focused town centre boundary as the area bounded by Glasgow Road, Church Street (including WDC offices, adjacent retail / residential units and Riverside Parish Church) and High Street (including plots to the south as shown).  This is the heart of the town and the primary extents of how the town centre is experienced. The functions and routes around and from the surrounding context also remain an influence.

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The following placemaking priorities will inform the Development Options.

The Proposals

Concentrate Take a deliberately focused approach centred around the heart of the town, where we can repurpose and protect a valued legacy of buildings, support an improving local economy and create opportunity.

Resilient Retail Reduce retail to the right level for a re-energised and diversified urban centre with the right-sized units. Relocate retail to street edges and concentrate the offer; don’t bury it deep in the urban block.

Connect Introduce safe walking and cycle routes and better connect the wider community to their centre better with environmentally friendly public transport. This will reduce car journeys, promote health and wellbeing as well as rebalancing inequality for low car ownership groups.

Gather Re-energise the centre by providing urban places that enrich day-to-day life and accommodate events that will attract local residents and visitors from outside the town. These external ‘rooms’ should encourage vibrant, year round use.

Repopulate Introduce significant levels of urban living to the town centre. Create mixed-use blocks with a variety of tenures (private for sale, affordable, social housing, student, elderly / supported / sheltered). Bring life back to upper levels over retail space through residential conversion.

Locate Services Centrally Key institutions such as education providers, health and civic establishments can be fantastic assets for a town centre. They offer essential accessible services right at the heart of the community, enhancing town centre vibrancy and increasing footfall.

Meanwhile Transformation takes time and not all proposals will be delivered in the short-term. Where a building or site is vacant, encourage ‘meanwhile’ uses that benefit the wider community, either through the creation of public space or temporary occupation for curated retail, commercial or cultural use.

Repurpose and Repair Take the opportunity provided by repurposing and rebalancing to upgrade or replace buildings that offer nothing to the urban environment. Many of our town centres benefit from a legacy of quality historic buildings and these new interventions should be of a contemporary architecture that matches them in quality and ambition.

Green place In response to the climate emergency, enshrine an ambition to achieve shared international goals, working towards a carbon zero objective and a more circular economy, generating localized renewable energy and recycling waste. Promote biodiversity and flood resilience in an inventive way that provides quality greened urban space for the community in the heart of our towns.

Rebalance While the changing patterns of retail have created new challenges, this shift provides the opportunity to rebalance our town centres. Repurposing a large single use asset such as a shopping centre can transform an urban core in one bold move, repopulating the heart of the town centre and increasing permeability with new streets and lanes.

Create Workplace Introduce workspaces that create vibrancy during the day while offering flexible working and healthy live / work balance. With a new imperative to work from home accelerated by Covid-19, there is a greater need for local shared workspace in well-connected towns to bridge between home and town centre.

Educate Encourage established education providers and community groups to take space in the town centre. Beyond conventional institutions, life-long learning encourages people from all walks of life to learn new skills and meet new people. This will create a sense of empowerment, increase wellbeing and combat digital poverty.

Night Life Repopulate and re-energise your town centre to be safer and more welcoming. Increase activity and passive surveillance from new residents, workers and a vibrant and sustainable evening economy. These shifts will require changes to historical planning law use class and licensing restrictions to bring life to ‘dead zones’ in your urban centre.

Attract Social and cultural attractors are a major catalyst for positive change and offer important opportunities to drive more visits into your town centre. From community and civic destinations, to cultural centres, cinemas and European-style food halls, these uses can bring new life to old, cherished buildings.

Include & Invite Make your urban centre accessible for all, regardless of age or ability. Offering welfare facilities accessible for all can have a significant impact on the footfall and dwell time of our high streets. Develop a memorable, cohesive and legible wayfinding strategy that helps people navigate their way around their town centre.