Weston-super-Mare Town Centre Regeneration - Draft Supplementary Planning Document (SPD)

Weston-super-Mare town centre regeneration Draft SPD

Orchard Meadows

KEY EXISTING CHARACTERISTICS

1. Historically forming the ‘working class’ quarter of Weston-super-Mare, characterised by a dense, fine grained urban form comprising tight lanes lined by a mix of narrow 2 and 3 storey buildings. North-south lanes link Alexandra Parade and the Boulevard.

2. Mixed use area including residential, independent retail and business (with a wider range of uses and activity on Meadow and Orchard Streets and primarily residential use further east).

3. An eclectic mix of building materials including brick, painted brick, render, tiles and limestone ashlar. Area has a number of Victorian shop fronts, some have been restored but others insensitively changed or neglected. Boundaries are defined by continuous building lines which tightly abut the streets and have a strong influence over their character.

4. A concentration of poor quality dwellings and HMOs, which, coupled with vacancy and associated disrepair of commercial premises, are eroding the area’s character. Building facades and streets have too many signs and visual clutter which competes with character defining details. Narrow pavements and on-street parking issues inhibit pedestrian movement and restrict the opportunity for businesses to spill out and animate the public realm.

5. Limited connectivity to High Street and Boulevard

6. Weston Museum is located in Burlington Street just off Orchard Street and forms an important cultural building in this part of town.

 

Orchard-Meadow Legend

 

FUTURE CHARACTER STATEMENT

Orchard Meadows will be recognised as Weston’s ‘lanes’ quarter, providing a lively mix of independent shops, food and drink outlets, cafes and independent businesses focused on Orchard and Meadow Streets. The change in demand for retail space has resulted in a more mixed area recently with an increase in shops converting to residential properties. Nonetheless Orchard Meadows will continue to be a clearly defined neighbourhood with a strong identity. Where conversions to residential use happen the aim should be to ensure better design standards which will help regenerate the area and add to the vibrancy of the community.

Located between two primary east-west routes – Alexandra Parade to the south and the Boulevard to the north – Orchard Meadows plays an important role in improving the connectivity and legibility of the town centre. Pedestrian and cycle access will be prioritised, made safer and more attractive and public realm improvements at Big Lamp Corner and Alexandra Parade will bind Orchard Meadows to surrounding character areas and the High Street, improve legibility and uplift the quality of the streetscape. Reducing the number of poor quality HMOs and vacant commercial premises, combined with the repair of the urban fabric and improved public realm will attract a wider mix of people and contribute towards a diverse and balanced town centre community with a sense of ownership over their neighbourhood.

 

DEVELOPMENT PRINCIPLES

  • Retain and strengthen the urban form and lanes character. Uses including independent food, drink, retail and small-scale commercial promises will be supported in principle.
  • Whilst some change of use from shops to residential is expected efforts to concentrate the shopping/commercial activity towards the western section of Meadow Street and the southern part of Orchard Street will be supported.
  • Support and encourage the appropriate conversions, repair and enhancement of existing buildings of heritage value.
  • Unify the character and quality of the area and improve legibility and natural wayfinding through coordinated public realm treatment and
    coordinated and sympathetic shop front design.
  • Reflect and bring out rich variety in plot widths, architectural style and materials.
  • Draw people into the area by improving public realm and visibility from Big Lamp Corner and Alexandra Parade as key gateway spaces into the area.
  • Improve physical and visual connectivity between the lanes and High Street and the Boulevard.
  • Incorporate north-south cycle link on Orchard Street subject to detailed design and feasibily.
  • Control the number of HMOs and improve quality of existing buildings.
  • New development to respect existing closed and generally continuous building line.
  • Improve the frontage street setting of Weston Museum, currently dominated by single storey private garages.

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