Exciting progress has been made for the North Walsham High Street Heritage Action Zone project. North Norfolk District Council is thrilled to announce the appointment of Influence, chartered landscape architects who will be undertaking the townscaping element of the project along with expert partners.
The team aim to provide sustainable solutions to urban planning and have extensive experience of working in conjunction with local authorities and communities to deliver landscaping and public realm services, including working on High Street Heritage Action Zones projects elsewhere in the UK.
“High Street Heritage Action Zones are such a key part of the future for our towns – especially post the pandemic – and are often driven by a strong local community interest. Revitalising and regenerating our high streets whilst reinstating the heritage roots is critical to their success, now and in the future. North Walsham is a vibrant market town but has been waiting for a long time to bring forward a high street public realm project. Now that it’s here, myself and the Influence team are honoured to have been selected to work on this important project, and are pleased to be supporting North Norfolk District Council’s in-house team,” said Shona Hatton, associate director at Influence.
“Our previous experience in delivering High Street Heritage Action Zones has given us specialist knowledge and understanding of the challenges and huge opportunities in our high streets -and we are using those assets to re-imagine the physical and social environment in North Walsham – to enable it to be a prosperous town where people want to live, work and relax.”
Master planning and consultation will be led by HETA – a studio of architects, designers and thinkers. Their focus is on people and how to create better, more meaningful experiences for them. Having completed a site visit the team will implement a programme of consultation and community engagement to see how the people of North Walsham want to see the space in the town centre used.
Other partners involved include Rees Bolter Architects as heritage consultants, BSP for highways and transport consultancy and Gleeds Cost Management, quantity surveyors.
This work is a vital part of the programme’s wider “placemaking” objectives, inspiring people to re-imagine and re-engage with the town centre as the heart of the community. It will focus on making the town centre a destination which embraces its heritage and community, creating a shared space people can enjoy, take pride in and encourages others to visit.
The Council and partners will seek to hear what residents, businesses and visitors want to see in North Walsham and foster a sense of community that maximises shared value by making it easier to move around the town centre and improve the appearance and quality of public spaces, starting with work which will see the improvement of the Lokes and alleyways that connect different areas within the town centre.
As part of this, the Council intends to purchase a piece of land adjacent to Black Swan Loke, a long-standing derelict area on an important pedestrian approach to the town centre, and is exploring options to maximise the potential of this busy route.