Community-led street design, Bridgwater

Sustrans’ community-led street redesign project in Hamp forms part of The Bridgwater Way Programme, a £4.34m investment in walking and cycling across the town.
The challenge

Somerset’s Local Economic Assessment showed that businesses are deterred from investing in the area, and that some young people struggle to access crucial vocational opportunities in employment sites on the periphery of the town, due to a lack of transport options.

  • Unemployment within Bridgwater is more than double the Somerset average of 2.4%.
  • The ward of Hamp, located within south Bridgwater is identified as one of the main pockets of deprivation, with a particularly high unemployment rate of 6.2%.[1]
  • Hamp has a population of 7,046 residents with 2,862 residential properties[2], and is identified as being in the top 20% most deprived areas in the country.[3]

The small parade of shops at Rhode Lane was skirted by an uninspiring expanse of cracked paving stones, parked cars, and lopsided bollards. Across the road, beyond the moving barrier of constantly rushing cars, lay an enticing green space enclosed by forbidding metal railings.

The Solution

Sustrans’ community-led street redesign project in Hamp forms part of The Bridgwater Way Programme, which includes 6.5 miles of cycle paths, community-led street redesign and business travel planning.

The aim of the redesign project is to inspire and support the residents of Hamp to re-configure their urban environment to make it safer and more attractive for everyday walking and cycling.

This builds community skills, address barriers to accessing work and educational opportunities, increase physical activity levels and create a culture of participation within the ward. The resulting improved environment will help strengthen the vitality and viability of Bridgwater.

The design for Rhode Lane was created by the residents and local business of Hamp after more than a year of community engagement by Sustrans, including on-street events, community-building events, and over 7 model-kit design workshops. The workshops were attended by over 170 people, with many more influencing the final design, to make walking and cycling easier in the area.

The small parade of shops is now skirted by a coloured brick promenade reminiscent of a sundial, incorporating a raised table road crossing to the green - a much more welcoming space with enhanced criss-crossability.

This project is funded by the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, and delivered in partnership with Somerset County Council.

The difference

Now a key destination for the community in Hamp, Bridgwater has been transformed thanks to this Community Street Design project.

The redesigned section of Rhode Lane is the centre of the community, providing their local shops, café, wellbeing facilities and green space. The street is well used each day for accessing school, education and work. The designs slow vehicle speeds and include informal crossings, informal play, space to socialise, seating, a community notice-board and improved accessibility. 

Door-to-door surveys, vehicle flow and volume counts will evidence increases in active travel and environmental quality.

1 ONS, Nomis Official Labour Market Statistics
2 ONS, 2010 Census 2001
3 Department for Communities and Local Government, 2010 Indices of Multiple Deprivation

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