Inspiring Infrastructure is a monthly feature to highlight best practice examples of infrastructure, though Sustrans was not directly involved in the delivery of this scheme. Previous features are listed on case studies and examples. Visit Route Design Resources for information and guidance on route design and construction.
Poynton is a Cheshire village with a population of 16,000, situated on the southern fringe of the Greater Manchester Conurbation. The historic focus of the village is Fountain Place, a crossroads at the junction of the London Road (A523), Chester Road (A5149) and Park Lane. Fountain Place was a busy signal controlled junction and the village civic and commercial centre has moved eastwards to Park Lane.
Park Lane and Fountain Place jointly form the commercial and social centre of Poynton. As such they have a critical place function for the village, helping to define its identity and local distinctiveness, requiring a high quality environment that will encourage social interaction and economic vitality.
Park Lane and Fountain Place also have an important movement function, for both vehicles and pedestrians. Park Lane is the main route into Poynton from the east and carries flows of 10,500 vehicles per day. Much of this is local traffic and there are no practical alternative routes at present to divert. Fountain Place is the junction of Park Lane, the A523 London Road and the A5149 Chester Road, carrying turning flows of some 27,000 vehicles per day including 6% HGVs.
Long-standing proposals for a Poynton bypass would not be progressed in the foreseeable future, so the streetscape enhancements proposed needed to accommodate existing traffic patterns, both on Park Lane and through Fountain Place.
The final scheme cost was around £3m, coming from a number of funding sources including a contribution from the DfT Links to Communities programme.
The resultant Village Improvement Scheme, developed in partnership with Ben Hamilton-Baillie, involved the creation of a sequence of informal crossings highlighting pedestrian desire lines, a central reservation to assist pedestrians to cross, narrow traffic lanes to keep vehicular speeds low, and repaved footways, including the re-paving of the private shop forecourts to enhance the pedestrian environment.
The design identified five locations for gateways to highlight the transition from highway, with its predominant movement function, to the village centre, where other activities and functions are equally important.
The design for Fountain Place replaced the existing traffic signal control and strongly defined arrangement of footways and carriageway with a design based on shared space principles, comprising two distinct but interconnected circular spaces. In view of the heavy traffic flows, paving materials and low kerbs were used to define the areas for traffic circulation as a guide for drivers and other users, but these physical clues are subtle and also emphasise the pedestrian desire lines through the space.
A video clip is available (15mins long) which documents the dramatic transformation that Poynton town centre has undergone:
For further information about this scheme, please contact Malcolm Adams at Poynton Town Council: firstname.lastname@example.org.