Public Realm Renewal, Swindon
Nicholas Pearson Associates was appointed by Swindon Borough Council to deliver a comprehensive renewal of Canal Walk and Regent Street – key pedestrian thoroughfares within Swindon’s town centre. The brief was to provide a holistic revitalisation of the public realm to serve as a stimulus for Swindon’s retail economy
We led a winning concept bid which was then developed through consultation and detailed design. We were involved throughout the construction phase, providing site support to the contract. The process achieved a CEEQUAL excellent award.
The design included a common palette of robust materials to aid cohesiveness in the town centre. Individual street identity and sense of place was reinforced by evoking elements of the town’s history. These include the Wilts and Berks Canal, which was abandoned in 1914 and later filled-in to accommodate the commercial development of Canal Walk, whilst in Regent Street the historic tram lines, abandoned in the 1920s, were reinterpreted with modern materials.
Natural elements including water, trees and living walls now provide an attractive retail setting and improve the local micro-climate. Lighting was integrated into the design and forms an engaging aspect of the renewal with LED strips embedded in the paving reacting to rainfall and to passing pedestrians. The result is a dynamic environment which encourages people to dwell in the town centre for longer periods of the day and into the evening.
A Colliers International survey, identified that pedestrian footfall increased in Regent Street by 6.6% - the highest increase of all town centres surveyed at the time.