Wickford High Street
client: Basildon Council, budget: £80k, contractor: Peter Loe Restorations
Wickford is a town of some 30,000 souls about half an hour east of London. The high street has a good selection of independent businesses mixed with some national chains. All the things needed for everyday life can be found locally. The quality of the public space and the appearance of the retail parades did not live up to their potential.
A convenient rail connection and the existing low-density urban fabric makes the area attractive for residential development. To ensure that local businesses benefit from the newcomers, the Wickford Masterplan identifies a range of complementary measures to improve the high street. Works to upgrade the leisure centre were completed. The market has moved from a backland site smack-bang into the middle of the high street. Public realm upgrades and traffic calming measures improved the pedestrian experience. To maximise the impact of our shopfront project we focussed on two areas: The southern gateway and the town square. Halls Corner with its distinct art nouveau terrace was transformed into a local landmark. Investment in the town centre focussed on a number of anchor businesses. Evidence of Wickford retailers evolving their retail model to cater for the evolving needs of the local population is already apparent.
The Council’s investment has helped to shift the perception of the high street, ensuring that its appearance lives up to its significance as Wickford’s civic hub.