Survey, analysis and sketch proposals for streetscape
This Somerset market town is one of a series of small towns with great quality, historic and listed, Ham stone buildings, but a very poor-quality urban realm which is badly eroded by the dominance of the highway, parking and signage.
We were asked to collaborate on a study with Colin Buchanan and Hamilton Baillie Associates to provide a strategy for lifting the quality of the streets and spaces in the heart of the town. In order to do this, we assessed the structure and hierarchy of the streets and spaces; the number of traffic movements; the disposition and use of parking spaces; the scale of carriageway and footways and the quality of materials throughout the spaces.
Our strategy proposed work to the key spaces. These comprised 3 strong entrance points around the town and a central square outside the market building. Each of these was designed to be more inclusive to pedestrians, with level surface treatment across the street. Parking was rationalised within these spaces and reconfigured in an existing car park to reduce the dominance of parking on the public realm. A palette of new materials was proposed and protection of building thresholds from the vehicular domains so that these civic spaces could be used for outside café tables and chairs; public seating; new trees and cycle parking.
The scheme was intended to give the whole town a new coherence so that the buildings and spaces would read as a composition, uncluttered by parked cars and surfaced with materials which would be in harmony with the building fabric.