CIHT Creating Better Places Award

Winner

Aldgate Highway Changes and Public Realm Improvements Project

City of London Corporation

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Aldgate has been transformed through the City of London Corporation’s Aldgate Highway Changes and Public Realm Improvements Project. The project removed the unappealing Aldgate gyratory system, created two new public spaces and improved both cycling and pedestrian routes.

Aldgate Square sits on the western side of the former gyratory between the Grade-II listed Primary School and Grade-I listed Church. Aldgate Square is now one of the largest public spaces in the City of London and is home to the new Portsoken Pavilion. The Pavilion provides a space for events, leisure and natural surveillance for the community. The social enterprise café within the Pavilion also provides accessible toilets which are always available to the public seven days a week.

With the project fully completed in June 2018 the contribution to the community is clear and the public spaces are continuously busy. The Square’s first event, the Aldgate Community Festival, was a true testament of how Aldgate’s diverse communities can come together. The Pavilion has proven to be a popular venue not just for local workers during the week but as a community hub hosting the weekly local chess club and other neighbourhood events.

Judges Comments

Vast change from what was. Road turned in to busy square. Lots of regular activity. Engaged with local school, reduced air pollution to below legal limits for the first time since 2003.

Highly Commended

As the focal point of the Leyton Town Centre scheme, the tired and neglected Francis Road shopping area was regenerated in 2017-18 through a highways improvement scheme into an attractive high street, reinvigorating local businesses and encouraging local people to use and enjoy their local shopping area.

Francis Road, London Borough of Waltham Forest

London Borough of Waltham Forest

The scheme’s vision aimed to:

  • Transform the road into a thriving high street and place for community interaction, increasing footfall and business opportunities
  • Make the road safer and more attractive for all
  • Make walking and cycling a more attractive and convenient option for local people
  • Decrease congestion on the road and in the surrounding area.

Judges Comments

Impressive methodology, significant transformation of what was a tired and neglected area that lacked investment to something that encourages a modal shift from car to active travel, i.e. cycling and walking.

Commended 

This £10 million transformation of London’s Bond Street is the most ambitious public realm improvement scheme in the area for over 30 years.

Delivered on time and on budget, the project is generating employment and wider social, environmental and economic benefits for London and the UK.

Bond Street Public Realm

Westminster City Council supported by FM Conway, WSP, New West End Company, Publica and Norman Rourke Pryme.

Synonymous with luxury, London’s Bond Street attracts visitors from around the world and the new Elizabeth Line is expected to bring an additional 35 million each year.

But the public realm has suffered from broken paving, cluttered street furniture, and a shortage of places to rest. As a result, it was in danger of falling out of favour with Londoners and visitors.

The project created an elegant and unified public realm that:

  • Prioritises pedestrians
  • Manages traffic and parking
  • Improves the public space
  • Creates a safer environment
  • Reduces street clutter
  • Encourages visitors to dwell

This provides a blueprint for reviving the high street with many aspects being replicated in Savile Row, Albemarle Street and Hanover Square; footfall is up 35% and there has been a noticeable reduction in traffic and queuing.

The ultimate goal was to re-establish Bond Street as a world-class destination, to match its competitors in cities like Milan, Los Angeles and Toronto.

Judges Comments

Impressive scheme in general, well planned and implemented in a historic part of London.

Commended

Queens Square is a large public space in the heart of Crawley town centre that had experienced a steady decline as a shopping destination leading to several empty units.

The vision for the square was to create an open area with “wow” factor reflecting the changing character of Crawley and provide an adaptable space which the public could utilise and would want to visit.

Queens Square Crawley

Waterman Infrastructure & Environment Ltd.

A continuous programme of public consultations was undertaken throughout the design development. Issues such as security, accessibility and features for the public to enjoy were cited as being important.

The design achieves this vision by creating a consistent level across the entire area and setting a water fountain at the heart of the layout to create a focal point. Large planters help to frame the area and provide seating and vegetation planting to emphasise a feeling of tranquillity. This helps to integrate the shops on the boundary with the square’s features whilst providing adequate space for pedestrian routes to the shops and around the square.

The large space around the fountain is used for public events. Feature lighting helps the area’s appeal during the evening and during events as well as address the issue of security.

Judges Comments

Addressed a crucial national issue of retail struggling and needing a setting which would bring greater footfall as well as significant activity both during day and in the evening.

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