As part of the ReWyre Regeneration Initiative, the District Council is undertaking a Public Realm Design Framework (PRDF) that will provide a strategy for the future of public areas the town centre. The District Council are working with experienced public realm experts IBI Taylor Young to deliver this project.
The PRDF will provide a programme of future improvements to the town's streets and spaces and will concentrate on Vicar Street in front of the Town Hall, High Street, Worcester Street and the Bull Ring. The framework will also include making improvements to the main route from the town centre towards the mainline and Severn Valley Railway stations on Comberton Hill.
The objective of the project is to redesign key spaces to improve their overall look, feel and function to make sure that public areas are being used in the most efficient way to suit a wider variety of needs as well as being aesthetically pleasing.
The PRDF will provide a number of specific design improvements to areas of the town as well as providing overarching design principles for any future developments. However, the PRDF will build up to the actually delivery on a Phase 1 public realm improvement scheme somewhere in the town centre in late 2013. The location will be determined through work on the framework itself. The District Council has committed an initial sum of £300k in capital funding to invest in the public realm and will be looking to use this as match-funding to bring in additional funding with a target of £1million for the implementation of a Phase 1 Scheme
Initial draft designs for public realm improvements are being prepared and will be launched at the District Council's State of the Area Debate on Thursday 7th March 2013. The designs suggest how the areas around the Town Hall, Bull Ring, Worcester Street and Comberton Hill could be redesigned to improve them.
The urban design qualities of Kidderminster Town Centre have suffered from successive redevelopment programmes dating back to the 1960’s and there has been a lack of investment in the public realm in the past few decades. Although there are some interesting pockets of heritage value and high quality townscape these are often isolated and the town lacks a coherent structure. This is largely the result of the layout of highways and movement corridors in the town which is in turn largely influenced by the town centre ring road. Arrival points, particularly on foot, are incredibly poor and the town centre is devoid of any quality meeting and rest space, event and performance space, or green space. These factors have been highlighted as part of the ReWyre Initiative and the more recent State of the Area debate as crucial elements that are holding back the economic potential and image of the town.
In order to address this, Wyre Forest District Council working closely with Worcestershire County Council Highways department have appointed a consultant team headed by urban design and public realm experts IBI Taylor Young to lead a dynamic and progressive programme for delivering a comprehensive scheme of public realm improvements in Kidderminster town centre and the Comberton Hill area.
The objective is to develop a Public Realm Design Framework which will provide an over-arching design masterplan to help guide future development and to ensure that individual development schemes contribute towards a ‘bigger picture’ to create a well-designed and functioning town. It will help to set the priorities for public and private investment in the public realm of the town centre including the streets and spaces in addition to providing a detailed design framework to inform development decision making. The framework will also be used to by the District Council to influence the Development Management process for planning proposals whilst providing the basis for attracting and competing for investment.
In addition to delivering the PRDF the District Council intends to deliver a Phase 1 public realm improvement scheme at an early phase. The Council has committed £300k in capital funding to invest in the public realm and will be looking to use this as match-funding to lever in additional funding with a target of £1million for the implementation of this project. The location and nature of this project will be determined through the development of the PRDF and it is part of IBI Taylor Young's commission to develop a detailed design for a Phase 1 scheme that the Council can implement.