Public Realm Design in an Historic Environment

Widcombe Parade, Bath

Client: Bath and North East Somerset Council (B&NES)

For thirty years the community linked to Widcombe Parade campaigned for the Parade - their high street - to be relieved of A-road traffic, all with no effect.

B&NES committed to a scheme and Place Studio were appointed to deliver a £2m project to restore the Parade to a vibrant village high street and redirect through traffic. Our roles were to lead on community liaison and engagement and undertake the detailed public realm design, supporting the project Steering Group and council officers.

Within very tight deadlines, the Place Studio team worked closely with the community and council officers to generate an integrated scheme. We designed, delivered and reported an intensive stakeholder and community engagement process that included informal workshops with key stakeholders and an all day drop-in as part of the design process.

Successful historic high street design has to balance modern retail and accessibility demands whilst enhancing the historic environment. Place Studio produced an agreed and adopted scheme that included:

  • A design to deliver low traffic speeds, incorporating significant enhancements for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport within a simplified and de-cluttered townscape.
  • Maintenance of valued street parking and new delivery capacity for businesses.
  • A simple, high quality specification that enables the historic frontages and landscape to take precedence, whilst creating a canvas for the street’s valued public life.

After 30 years of waiting by the community, the scheme is now completed.