The site was hugely challenging with complex constraints and blighted by dereliction. It is squeezed between heritage assets, and a working and remodelled railway station and a market. The apparently simple use of high quality materials in the open market square, and the newly opened public access to the old carriage ramp, createdopportunities for the commercial use of both the existing arches, as well as the ground and first floor elements of the new and refurbished buildings that surround it.
The scheme has been praised for its level of ambition. It takes an under used, undervalued and unsafe series of spaces and turns them into legible, explorable and enjoyable places. The nuanced design evokes the best of the heritage, and balances this with a robust modern simple solution.
A strong design direction was developed and applied without compromise to all aspects of the project, from paving stone selection to tree grille design. Excellent detailing throughout is not only contributing to the value of the pace for the local community, but will also ensure permanence and longevity. The schemes ambition is proved through the immediate letting and occupancy of the surrounding commercial spaces.