Following on from the previous section looking at the key concept behind the scheme of pedestrianisation and the impacts this will have on parking, this section looks at the proposals in more detail. The plan below shows the overall design proposals for Kingsbury, Market Square, and also the space between which we are suggesting could be called Hampden Place.
Each space would have its own distinctive character. Market Square would still be identified predominantly by its Dennerhill cobbles, relaid for improved accessibility. Kingsbury would be identified by its new central green space with lawn and surrounding gardens. Hampden Place would be a pedestrianised area gathered around the John Hampden statue.
We are currently working with a range of Aylesbury Accessibility groups to ensure the scheme meets the needs of all users. For example, this may include integrating a number of defined pedestrian crossing points where vehicles are permitted to pass, to aid blind and partially-sighted people. These workshops are ongoing.
Following on from this overview plan we will look at each space in more detail, starting with Kingsbury. The artist's impression below is of Kingsbury, viewed from the south. It shows a more unified ground plane for pedestrian priority, the central garden area with generous planting, new street trees, and increased outdoor trading opportunities to building frontages all around the space. The new garden would have the effect of pulling the surrounding buildings together into a new relationship with their public realm. This would be a softer, more comfortable, and welcoming environment for everyone. The proposals also aim to make the route through to the museum and St. Mary's more clear.
The precedent image shown below is for the garden square. Whilst it is a larger space than Kingsbury it gives a good sense of the relationship between a central lawn, surrounding gardens, and feature mature trees, which together create an attractive environment to occupy and enjoy.
The drawing below is a more detailed plan of Kingsbury and its garden square. The space would be accessible by vehicles, managed via an ANPR(automatic number plate recognition) gateway beside Cambridge Street, one-way clockwise through the space, maintaining local access to George Street and Pebble Lane, exiting through a second ANPR gateway at the Buckingham Street roundabout. This would be a pedestrianised space so people have priority at all times over vehicles. Cycle parking is provided in two locations.
The garden square is clearly visible with its central lawn and surrounding gardens. These are proposed to be rain gardens gathering surface water run off for irrigation as part of the site SUDS (sustainable urban drainage system) strategy. There are also two street swales off the south end of Kingsbury. The garden square is surrounded by a range of integrated seating and other features, which will be part of further detailed design development, for example, interpretation features highlighting Aylesbury's heritage. Various new trees are proposed throughout the space.
Outdoor seating is shown indicatively to building frontages to highlight the potential for a stronger relationship between businesses and the public realm, i.e. space for outdoor dining or other trading. There would be new lighting throughout Kingsbury for improved ambience but also safety and security.
This artist's impression below imagines how the space between Kingsbury and Market Square could look. It shows the John Hampden statue locally relocated to a more central position where it could provide a focus for what we have suggested could be called Hampden Place. A more unified ground surface around the statue extending out to meet the surrounding buildings would have the effect of drawing them together, creating an improved sense of place. The image shows new planting including trees, and suggests the potential for outdoor trading in the future to animate the space.
The image below is a precedent for Hampden Place. It is Seven Dials in Central London, which brings people together in an animated, pedestrian-friendly public space. It also has trees around the edges, which provide shade and shelter.
A detailed plan of Hampden Place is shown below. It is bound on the north side by the vehicular access to Kingsbury and on the west by the vehicular access around the top end of Market Square. Servicing access to the existing pedestrianised area to the High Street would be maintained one-way southbound from the north. No other vehicular access would be required across this space (except in emergencies) therefore this new space at the heart of the town could be fully enjoyed instead by pedestrians.
The relocated John Hampden statue is set within a radial geometry that pulls the surrounding buildings together into new relationship with each other. This statue was originally sited adjacent to the War Memorial in Market Square.
A small garden is shown around the statue, amplified by new surrounding trees. There were previously four trees in this space, unfortunately two died and were removed. A third is in very poor health and recommended for removal by the arboriculturalist and we have concerns about the health of the remaining fourth tree. On balance that's why we felt a preferable future for the space may be as shown instead, including new trees specified to thrive better. The potential for active frontages around the space is shown by the indicative seating and other public realm feature in the space could include additional interpretation.
This artist's impression below is of Market Square looking south from within the square towards the Clock Tower and Corn Exchange building. It shows the existing mature plane trees and Dennerhill cobbles defining the predominant character of the space. Proposals would widen the footways to the building frontages to create a more seamless connection between market square and surrounding businesses, encouraging outdoor trading and a more active and animated public realm environment.
The image below shows a precedent for Market Square. Whilst in many ways it's quite different from Market Square, which for example has significant trees, this space in Germany inspired us to think about Market Square as an 'urban living room', with places to occupy and use the square around it's edges and in the middle. It also illustrates how a more unified ground plane brings the buildings together around the space.
The plan below shows Market Square, which extends through to its meeting with Walton Street. Vehicular access to Market Square would be managed via an ANPR gateway at Walton Street. Managed vehicular access would be retained two-way in and out of Long Lional and Exchange Square, and one-way anti-clockwise around the rest of Market Square, exiting through Market Street. These arrangements would allow markets and events to continue within a better provisioned public realm. This would include extensive new lighting and integrated power and water supplies.
The existing Dennerhill cobbles would be relaid to be more accessible with a flush area around the Clock Tower retained as current for access between Friar's Square and Hale Leys. The area of Dennerhills which so characterises Market Square, would be emphasised by a generous new flush stone perimeter threshold, beside which new integrated seating is also proposed.
The setting of other key heritage features within the space would also be enhanced. A Portland stone apron is proposed to the War Memorial with a backdrop of new trees. Rain gardens are proposed either side of the Charles Compton statue at the south end of the square, behind the lion statues. These would replicate gardens that were in this location historically.
Around Market Square the potential for outdoor trading is shown indicatively by seating. Where the vehicular exit through Market Street makes this unfeasible along the north side of the square, an alternative area for seating has been proposed within the square instead, behind the War Memorial beside the new trees.
The proposals also include a new zebra crossing from the bus station across Walton Street into Market Square, which is coordinated with anew taxi rank position at the top of the street, where it located previous to its current location in Market Square. New cycle parking is provided in two new locations.
Listed below are a summary of the key objectives of each space. As Kingsbury, Market Square, and the space between we are proposing could be called Hampden Place all have a different character the objectives vary. However, a common objective across the whole site area is to create a pedestrian-priority environment that is accessible for all.
In the next section, we will look at some precedents that we have used as inspiration to give an idea of what the materials and elements could look like for Kingsbury and Market Square. You can find out more in Section 4