Chelmsford Market Square
- Chelmsford City Council
Thoughtful community engagement, vision setting and development of design scenarios to re-invigorate a tired but well-used city centre square.Project details
We’ve been working with local residents, businesses and visitors to develop a community-led vision and design proposals for Market Square in Chelmsford, Essex.
As part of a wider public realm improvement strategy, and in response to the growth of the city and behaviour changes instigated by Covid 19, the City Council recognised that enhancements to Market Square would enable it to fully benefit from its thriving market and city centre location, and to support different city centre uses. Keen to employ a ground-up approach, the Council appointed Projects Office to lead an intensive community co-design strategy, and then to develop bold, innovative and creative design scenarios.
Working with placemaking consultancy Where Pathways Meet, we developed a three-stage methodology, to build on existing knowledge with insights from a broad section of the community. Within a tight timeline, this approach enabled residents and traders to shape design concepts, and build a shared set of priorities and design principles. Alternating between a colourful pop-up market stall in the square, and in-depth workshops with a Community Engagement Group, our process created a feedback loop that brought the community on the design journey, informed design proposals and built support for the project.
We developed a set of scenarios for the activation and development of the space, considering short and long term interventions to deliver the ideas and aspirations of local people, while responding to the constraints of the site. These early stage proposals were presented in a detailed report to enable discussion and provide the basis for the next stage of design work for the square.