Crawley Queen's Square
Client: Crawley Borough Council
Duration: 10 months
Landscape Architect: Burns + Nice
First opened in 1958, Queens Square lies at the heart of Crawley town centre, comprising a large pedestrianised plaza surrounded by shops. Despite a number of physical improvements in the past, a generally good standard of maintenance and a programme of activities, the space was inflexible, and showing signs of age. Most recently, several major retailers had chosen to either close down or relocate from the Square. Fragmented property ownership meant the area suffered from a lack of inward investment and these factors led to a steady decline in its popularity as a shopping destination.
The regeneration of Queens Square has seen it transformed into a high quality, inviting, distinctive and enjoyable public space. The improvements include high quality paving, new and improved lighting, new seating, new street furniture, new planting and a fountain and have encouraged new businesses to open and for existing retailers and property owners to improve the appearance of their buildings.
The project involved:
○ Removal of split level ‘sunken’ area
○ Relocation of bandstand and public art installation
○ Replacement high quality paving
○ New planting
○ New and improved lighting; column and decorative
○ New seating; formal and informal
○ Creation of central focal point comprising dry plaza and decorative water feature.
The complicated scheme included an underground plant room being fitted while all the shops remained in use and had access around the perimeter via passageways.
The paving pattern is also very unique and with the very large paving units (900 x 300 x 100mm) cutting and levels were very testing. This also made phasing difficult to ensure the lines were maintained while working on different areas.
○ A new irrigation system was installed within the planters to reduce water usage.
○ Former halogen lighting in the square was replaced with LED which has significantly reduced the power requirements for street lighting.
○ The majority of construction materials were reused, recycled and sourced from local suppliers in order to reduce delivery mileage to the site.
○ Site operatives were employed locally (in accordance with the Crawley Developer Charter) so that travelling distances were reduced.
○ A car/van sharing scheme was also established.
Feedback from residents, retailers and visitors who use and occupy the area has been overwhelmingly positive and businesses are positive about the future. A number of new retailers have moved into the square as a direct result of the project, creating 35 new jobs and regenerating 4,000m² commercial space. Vacancy rates in the immediate area are their lowest since 2008.