In May 2021, we were asked to lead on the design of this town centre Gateway Masterplan. The work follows on from an earlier Towns Investment Plan bid and aims to provide a development framework and green book business case for the re-imaging of this town centre transport gateway. The commission seeks to establish a masterplan framework and provide further detail on a number of constituent projects, including new public realm; a new public sector hub; a new flexible commercial building; a transport hub and a revitalised and re-imagined railway station.
The masterplan is an ambitious project which aims to regenerate the area around the famous Victorian railway district into a vibrant and transformative quarter. The station which once symbolised the gateway to the town has suffered in recent years through a combination of increased traffic congestion; poor quality public realm and a lack of an integrated public transport strategy.
The masterplan site covers approximately 3.25 Ha and includes both Network Rail ownership as well as private ownership. The masterplan sits within the town’s Conservation Area and seeks to provide a comprehensive re-visioning of place with the rebalancing of pedestrian and vehicular movements to significantly improve the passenger experience to the front of the station and to improve transport connectivity across the various proposed transport modes to the south of the station. The redevelopment will pave the way to enhance the footfall and night time economy of the area. Providing refurbished food and beverage offers within the station building, a boutique hotel within a disused part of the station and new build offers within landscaped gardens leading to an existing arts and community offer in the excursion station.The scope of the project includes both the adaptive re-use of local assets as well as new build proposals. There are also proposals to create a new transport hub, a new enclosed car park and provision for electric vehicle car charging and hire; cycles and scooters.
The town is currently enjoying significant inward investment with a number of significant regeneration projects being developed by the Council. There is a growing sense of optimism and with it an urgent need to address the town’s appeal to both the local community and to outside visitors.