Since the summer, consultants Ironside Farrar have delivered three engagement events on behalf of East Lothian Council and the Project Steering Group* to inform the development of public realm proposals for Haddington Town Centre.
All sessions have been well attended, with a positive dialogue about needs, challenges and making the most of the Town’s assets for local people, businesses, and visitors.
Approximately 400 individuals and businesses attended over the three events leaving many hundreds of comments, which have all been collated and summarised. All of the materials have been available online following the events via the Community Development Trust website.
The boards from the third and final event on 31st October are now available on the Haddington Community Development Trust Website, where they can be viewed and downloaded. Please click the following link to find them – Haddington Town Centre Design Project Event 3
The key themes raised in this process are:
- Heritage and History – action is required to create an enhanced Town Centre environment, one that will complement Haddington’s outstanding built heritage. Changes considered address the key areas of High Street, Market Street, and Hardgate. Proposals include creating more space around the Mercat Cross to celebrate its historic significance; investment in shopfronts and facades to conserve and enhance townscape character; distinctive design features to enhance quality of place using a palette of materials sympathetic to the historic setting and better wayfinding to connect the centre with wider town assets such as the riverside and path networks
- Accessibility & Inclusivity – Local people felt that it was important to ensure that any public realm design meets the needs of people of all abilities. The draft design seeks to improve accessibility and the walking environment by providing wider pavements, narrowing roads to make them easier to cross, helping to create a safer and more pleasant environment for walking and cycling whilst retaining vehicle access. More outdoor space for seating, cafes, and events was seen as opportunity to bring more life and activity into the heart of the town, increasing footfall and supporting economic activity.
- Traffic and Parking – Local people want to see a strategic approach to managing parking provision in the Town Centre and a coordinated strategy from the council to mitigate any displacement of on-street parking in improving the town’s public spaces. Traffic should be calmed as much as possible to improve the Town Centre environment for walking and cycling. Short-stay parking within easy walking distance of the centre was considered a critical element to be addressed as part of developing the public realm proposals. The new design should be ‘parking neutral’, so current parking capacity is protected
In parallel with the development of the new design, the consultants have been working with the council’s Roads Department to carry out detailed assessment of the current traffic and parking conditions within the Town Centre to contribute to the plans. The aim is for the final design to be ‘parking neutral’, so current parking capacity is protected. Where space is required to accommodate improved loading and pedestrian provision, this could be offset by adding additional short-stay parking spaces elsewhere in the Town Centre, as well as by improving the management of parking. Residents’ parking is also important and will be considered carefully; one of the strengths of Haddington Town Centre is that it is a place where people live.
The project is also bringing forward plans to get more people walking and cycling to the Town Centre.
Participants appreciated the design challenges in terms of balancing the many complex demands on Haddington Town Centre to ensure a vibrant and successful future for Haddington.
In the coming weeks the project consultants will present their proposals to local businesses and the Community Council before, taking into account all of the feedback received to date, making final revisions to the design with the Project Steering Group* and East Lothian Council.
* The Project Steering Group is made up of representatives from the Haddington and District Business Association, Haddington and District Community Council, the Haddington and District Amenity Society, The Haddington Community Development Trust, East Lothian Council, and Sustrans.