Regent Circus, Swindon, is a proposed "shared space" improvement scheme which forms the main pedestrian link between the re-development of the former Swindon College site and the town centre.
Part of the scheme addressed by this Quality Audit concerns the area of public realm fronting the proposed retail development and Regent Circus. The area of the development facing Regent Circus (currently a derelict college building fronting a temporary pay and display car park) will form a managed public area with extensive hard and soft landscaping. Regent Circus is currently a gyratory with a large central island connected by controlled pedestrian crossings (3 signalled and one zebra crossing) linking all four corners of the gyratory.
The proposed scheme for Regent Circus forms a strong visual and pedestrian link between the front of the proposed retail development and public area to Regent Circus and the town centre beyond, in a shared space style scheme (not shared surface). This involves substantial increases to the size of the pedestrian island and crossing walkway widths with uncontrolled crossings on raised tables. The provision of raised speed control features at gateway points to the scheme and at the crossings is designed to further reduce the already comparatively low approach speeds to the crossing points to less than 20mph.
The proposals include a decluttering of the area including the removal of guardrail, non-essential signs / road markings and all of the controlled crossings.
The Quality audit day was hosted by Swindon Borough Council and run by TMS acting as Quality Auditors for the scheme. The event was attended by around 20 people representing a variety of street users needs.
The day involved presentations from the scheme designers, road safety auditors and an outline of what the Quality Audit process was trying to achieve in terms of balancing the needs of all street users, safety, visual quality and sense of place. This was followed by a number of working groups on each of these issues. A lot of useful feedback on the proposals was gained and incorporated into the Quality Audit report.
The Quality Audit report recommended that the scheme proceed to detailed design addressing these comments accordingly. A notable outcome of the day was the change in views of the local representative of Guide Dogs for the Blind, from one of opposition to the scheme to cautious support for the scheme and a commitment to review its operation jointly with the Swindon Borough Council after implementation.
The general view of those attending the Quality Audit day was that it had been a very useful process and would like to see this adopted more widely for similar developments.
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