Results of Watchet's East Quay Foundry community consultation
Recent community consultations have led to some major changes for Watchet’s East Quay designs for a cultural workspace development. Changes include removing the idea of a lookout tower from the development, incorporating a new high quality public realm landscape architecture scheme, and removing the ‘take away’ hatch from the ground floor restaurant.
The plans are for a new cultural enterprise development, made up of maker workspaces, a state of the art gallery, self-catering accommodation and a restaurant situated on the quayside of Watchet’s marina. The development aims to bring jobs, nurture creative enterprise and attract visitors to Watchet. Consultations late last year were purposefully planned for the early stages of the design process, so that the community could have a meaningful input into the progress of the designs. Onion Collective ran 18 separate sessions, including 10 presentation workshops and 8 drop in sessions.
The community's responses to the designs by architects Invisible Studio was overwhelmingly positive, it was tremendously encouraging to listen to people’s positive reactions to the design proposals and exciting to see how much the community is behind the scheme, we worked hard to reach as many local people as possible and would like to say an enormous thank you to everyone who took part, your thoughts ideas and advice have been invaluable. However there were areas where people had some serious concerns particularly towards the design of the lookout tower, the seeming lack of landscape design proposals at this stage and the fear that the new restaurant might take trade from already established cafes. These same concerns came up again and again and it therefore became a priority for us to respond accordingly.”
In response to those concerns we have decided to remove the look-out tower from this development. Interestingly people were not opposed to the concept of a lookout tower itself, they just didn’t like the design or location, therefore it has been decided to delay the
construction of a look-out tower to a later date in a different location, and create a community engagement process around its design, so that people can be more involved and participate more actively in its creation.
In response to people’s questions about the design of the outside public space, we have also since instructed Landscape Architects LT Studio. LT Studio is an award winning creative landscape practice, with extensive experience of landscape interventions on waterfront developments. Based in Bath they have completed a number of high profile developments, including Torquay Waterfront and Bristol Harbourside . They are also working on designs for Shrewsbury Flax Mill Visitor Centre for Historic England. The landscape design will be about creating beautiful public space at East Quay that visitors will want to spend time in. It means that the quality of the outdoor space matches that of the new buildings, that flow of people and traffic can be properly thought out, that the surfaces and planting can complement the maritime industry history of the site, as well as that of the creative industries taking place within the maker studios. As was pointed out in the consultation, the landscape design has the power to make or break a development, and we want to make sure it is of the highest quality and brings the whole scheme to life. Landscape proposals will be presented at a public meeting in March, date to be confirmed.
The decision to remove the take away hatch from the ground floor of the restaurant has also been agreed so as not to compete with other already established cafés in town as this was another major concern from the consultations.
The results of the consultations have been fed back to architects Invisible Studio and to new Landscape Architects LT Studio and will be incorporated into the finalisations of the design process. The final designs will be presented at an open public meeting in March – date to be confirmed.
Planning permission for the development will be applied for in April this year, and once planning consent has been given we can then apply for major capital grant funding to build the scheme. Funding to get concept designs to the planning stages was awarded by the Coastal Revival Fund.
The feedback from the consultations can be found here:
For more information about the scheme click here , or alternatively please contact us here at firstname.lastname@example.org