Camden has secured £1.9 million from the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund to help improve Queen's Crescent community. This funding will be used to support a range of improvements to the high street, including locally co-designed public realm improvements and support for the local market.
The community co-design stage of the project ran from January to May 2019 and received more than 160 responses. The process involved public meetings, an on-street exhibition, walk-around events and 1:1 interviews with everyday street users.
Different opinions were expressed, and although views were sometimes contrasting, a number of priorities and values were shared throughout. These results were where put together as a set of design principles:
- making space for the community
- celebrating culture and arrival
- supporting market life and micro business; and
- creating a healthy street
These principles guided the development of a Queen's Crescent Public Realm & Green Infrastructure Strategy, proposing improvements to the Malden Road entrance and Ashdown Crescent sections of the high street area. The strategy includes more specific details of the agreed interventions, and the wider community co-design process. A summary is included below:
- awnings for businesses located at the Malden Road entrance
- better signage
- bollards with electricity supply for traders
- build outs in road to slow down traffic and provide space for tree pits
- catenary and tree lighting
- community information board
- consolidated Market (at the Malden Road end, retaining the potential for growth across the entire street)
- crescent-shaped paving at the Malden Road end of Queen’s Crescent
- green wall
- mature trees planting in the tree pits
- repainted Queen's Crescent Arch
- storage for market traders
- temporary tables and chairs to be managed by local businesses / library / others, to test principles of seating for elderly residents
- water fountain
We have completed feasibility work on the proposed improvements, including technical surveys and assessments of materials and ongoing maintenance considerations. We then presented a revised proposal to the funder's (the Greater London Authority's) Design Review Panel, which recommended that the design be enhanced to respond to the challenges posed by the pandemic and some of the community's specific priorities, such as addressing vehicle dominance and improving pedestrian experience.
During the community co-design, several proposals were raised by the community to tackle traffic issues on the street:
- Slowing traffic
- Restricting/reducing parking
- Reducing congestion/traffic numbers
- Making Queens Crescent one-way
The Stage 2 report suggests exploring these problems on a larger scale, like a one-way system, partial street closure and making the market day more permanent by creating a pedestrian zone. The pandemic has made it clear that our neighbourhood centres need to work better for their community, so people can shop and access services nearby, with clean air and healthy public spaces that everyone can enjoy.
In response to this, Camden is conducting a trial of a motor traffic free environment on a smaller section of Queen's Crescent between Bassett Street and Weedington Road to inform an enhanced public realm scheme. On Thursdays and Saturdays, the street market continues to operate as it did before.
During the trial, the street market will continue to operate as usual, and access to the area for servicing will be permitted outside of key hours. The public space created by the trial will allow Camden to test parklets and seating to support cafes and restaurants along Queen's Crescent, and to test holding a street market on additional days. The trial includes arrangements for loading, access and disabled parking
Read more about the Queen's Crescent traffic free trial
We hope to use the findings of the trial, together with feedback already gathered from the community, and during the trial, to help us come up with a permanent scheme proposal that will be consulted in Autumn 2021. This permanent proposal may contain elements of the trial and the improvements proposed as part of the Stage 2 report.
We would encourage the community to share their views via the trial web page or you can send thoughts or comments by email to [email protected].