Bacup Townscape Heritage Initiative
In 2014 Rossendale Borough Council was successful in securing £2m funding through the HLF for a 5 year regeneration project that focused on Bacup’s unique built and cultural heritage.
The scope of works consisted of reconfiguring the existing road layout around the central roundabout in Bacup including the approach arms on Market St, Burnley Road, Yorkshire St and St James Square, and the enlargement of the footway incorporating part of the bus stand concourse to create a larger public event space.
It also included widening of the footways with high quality paving, realignment of the kerb lines, pedestrian crossings, bituminous surfacing, street lighting installation, drainage connections, sign installation and road markings. Extra visitor parking and loading bays for businesses were also to be constructed.
Understanding of the Clients Outcomes and the Community’s Needs
Before commencement, EWCE met with both Lancashire County Council (LCC) representatives and Rossendale Borough Council, who were instrumental in obtaining the Heritage Grant to undertake the works (i.e. Rossendale were the ultimate client but LCC were the Highway Authority for the scheme). Key outcomes for the client that came out of this meeting were the completion of a high quality scheme with minimal disruption caused during the construction stage.
We also met with all businesses to ascertain which would be most affected by the works and what we could do to minimise the impact. It transpired that a key need for them during the works was minimising disruption to traffic and the impact business as many of them had frontages directly onto the footways that were being improved.
Bacup is a junction with 4 key roads meeting in the town centre, therefore, a key challenge of the project was to undertake the work safely and to programme, whilst minimising traffic disruption wherever possible and maintaining best access for local businesses.
Minimising traffic disruption, whilst maintaining good access for local businesses.
How We Delivered
Early engagement with the local heritage and planning officers who were keen to understand the materials to be used in the high quality public realm areas was undertaken. We provided relevant samples of materials and trial panels for review and acceptance.
A local York Stone that met the required high quality criteria and could be procured within the timescales needed to meet the overall programme as agreed.
By procuring a UK sourced paving material we were able to ensure that the most critical areas in terms of traffic management were undertaken over the summer school holidays when traffic flows were greatly reduced. Additional works of this nature were then completed within the half term break.
Our Project Team reviewed the existing road network and its constraints when developing our temporary works and traffic management proposals. We proposed the adoption of an innovative temporary one-way system around Bacup town centre, changing the direction of traffic in some locations but still maintaining key traffic routes. This would allow the traffic flows to be maintained and facilitate access to the works where required without undue disruption. However, it was agreed that this would be monitored to assess its effectiveness.
On the first day of installation, it was concluded that the temporary system was causing delays predominantly due to a modified turning arrangement for some through bus routes. However, we monitored this with LCC representatives and took action to amend the traffic management arrangement the following day that simplified the arrangement and greatly reduced the delays.
It was similarly recognised that a closure of the whole junction would create undue, lengthy and complex diversions. Consequently, we undertook extensive liaison with relevant bus companies, emergency services and LCC before planning to complete the works within a single week of night shifts. By doing this we largely avoided the need for full closure with the exception of final surfacing. The works were finally completed within 3 shifts, further minimising disruption.
We also ensured that street lighting and their DNO connections were programmed for installation before the paving being undertaken. This made it possible to complete each area as the work progressed rather than leaving unfinished areas for electrical connections etc. that compromise quality and lead to more traffic management and barriers being required.
We liaised with the local businesses to ascertain their opening and delivery times, so that we could plan the works to their frontages at times that would cause least disruption.
We also worked with the businesses to provide temporary parking within our traffic management (that went above the minimum requirement) to mitigate potential loss of trade. For example, we provided dedicated parking spaces for a local butcher who was concerned about losing passing trade.
The end result was a high quality public realm project that the client was pleased with.