Following our work in 2018 on a strategy for Colchester's Key Public Spaces, we were commissioned to oversee the transformation of St Nicholas Square into a lively public square, while respecting its heritage as a fragment of the churchyard belonging to to a Gilbert Scott-designed church which was demolished in the 1950s. The two small plots into which the gravestones were removed are currently marooned within loading bays and delivery yards, while the space offers little functionality for community use despite its busy central location.
Our scheme will greatly reduce the dominance of vehicles in the square, and resite the remaining gravestones into two sculptural benches, while opening out the space for informal seating, markets and events. Based on detailed fact-funding about the use of the square by businesses, we have been able to make the case for reduced loading bays and implementation of a one-way system in order to narrow the carriageway width and reclaim more space for pavement seating. We worked closely with visually impaired people and wheelchair users to understand how they use the space and ensure it is safe and accessible for all.
The project should start on site in 2023.