Monday, April 30, 2007

Stourport refurbishment.,and lovely lovely data

Well my contact failed to email me the plans, however that's been usurped by their posting on the District Council site. Well maybe. There's a 5-page summary leaflet which as you might expect keeps it simple and <shock horror> they've given an email address. The actual plans themselves are oddly only 3 pages long and the next document is 12 pages of modified photos for the work next to the bridge. None of which totals 82 pages.

Let's take a look shall we. First off we have the big alterations. An extension of the pavement across Raven Street.

By drawing the paving material across the highway at this point, it gives pedestrians a clearer right of way, and creates a better impression to the user when the side street is closed off on market days"
Okay firstly "right of way" it's a road, oddly enough on roads cars have right of way (unless a pedestrian has started to cross). How many accidents are going to be caused by people trying to turn into Raven Street and coming to a screeching halt when someone just blindly steps in front of them? Secondly the "better impression" on market day, this assumes the market is now nailed to Raven Street and won't be moved regardless of a better site becoming available in the future, perhaps one that doesn't require the take-over of a car-park and the closing of the street. Nice to leave your options closed.

Next we have the delightful repaving outside the two pubs labelled a "Gateway feature"
By creating a feature in the roadway using the coloured asphalt creates an entrance to the town.
Yep good idea I like it, I suppose it'll be maintained so it doesn't all wear away due to the heavy traffic otherwise it'll look terrible. Wait there's more -
Pedestrian paved vehicular areas across both side-streets creates a hierarchy in the area favouring pedestrains[sic]
Well Coopers Lane is already pretty much like that and Engine Lane doesn't get used that much really so hmm okay...
and creating a comfortable environment to cross in.
That's crossing the two side streets right? Oops check the plans...
offer a space for pedestrians to cross the road
No! Bad doggy, people should be crossing under the bridge or at the pelican crossing. They should not be encouraged to stand outside the pub or next to the entrance of the bridge trying to play dodge the traffic.

Paving options up next, a herringbone pattern is suggested with some colours mentioned. Oo oo here's a silly thought why don't we match it up to the paving already in place in High Street, wow that's not even mentioned. Litter bins, meh I'll go with the classic cylinder, better then the lumps on the Riverside. Perhaps add some special paving to enhance the historical nature of Stourport? Yep I'll go with that - canal boat carvings in some larger slabs and the like. Signage? A big yes with it actually pointing to things being helpful. Lighting. Good idea eco-friendly would be nice, and those olde-worlde lamps look great, but seem to give off bugger-all light.

Oh I've missed off the Information Board that's being placed, apparently without a single speck of irony, outside the closed, boarded-up job centre.

Anything missing, well yes not a peep about the CCTV cameras one of which is going to be in Bridge Street nor the eye-sore that's the old boarded-up market.

Okay match the pavement bottom to top, Bridge Street to High Street, we're trying to draw people into the town remember. Shift the 'town entrance' onto the bridge, make it obvious this is not a crossing point, accentuate the paving towards the crossing and make it bleedin' obvious to people parking by the amusement arcade that there's also a crossing point behind them under the bridge. Highlight Coopers Lane not as 'road to walk across', but as 'road to walk down' this is after all one of the main access points to the Riverside for wheelchairs, pushchairs etc. and is much nicer then either of the deathtrap staircases that appear to be the only way down from the town.

Bins you've got covered, many small over a few large ones, we're not exactly flush with pavement space. Bigger ones at the entrance to Coopers lane and one either side of the crossing would be nice. Something nice could be done with the block paving outside of both pubs, they might even contribute towards it. The information point sadly does need to be outside the old job centre it having the largest pavement area, outside the old post office would have been even better had it been grabbed and turned into a museum/exhibition centre; it's still the wrong area unless we can push people up into the town they're not going to see it. Tav's mentioned the trail thing, but that would involve other parts of the town, and no doubt outside the remit of this refurbishment plan.

Not truly a part on the Bridge Street plan yet playing a role we have a Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report on the same page, which went out for a five week consultation between Monday 19th March 2007 and Monday 23rd April 2007 and "The responses will be considered in the production of the full SA Report" 29 pages of which you can skip the first 11. The rest is vaguely interesting and gives the loose framework of what has to be done for the entire district, but quite rightly doesn't go into specifics. Appendix A simply lists policies, plans etc. that have to be considered for the district, Stourport gets mentioned with regard to transport and concentrating non-domestic buildings into the town centre.

Appendix B is the whopper at 74 pages packed with statistics for the district (yum!). Page 15 gave me a chuckle; look at the map, look at the red dots, then read the last sentence of the paragraph underneath it. The table on page 16/17 gave me pause for thought. Supposedly it gives the level of open space available for each area except there's no measurement system.

For example Stouport has a population of 19,713 and a provision of Allotments of 3.72. 3.72 what? You might think it's a percentage i.e. of the total open area 3.72% is allotments, except the total is 218.47. Percentage of the district? Nope Bewdley hits a 292.52 for Natural Open spaces alone. So what hectares, acres, hides? I'm guessing hectares, but I shouldn't be guessing at all.

Okay I'll skip reporting about the rest of the data for now, suffice to say this appendix makes more interesting reading then the actual report.


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