Published: 11:00, 25 January 2018
A redesign of one of Sandwich’s most prominent spaces has been described as a “once in a generation opportunity”.
Architects employed by Sandwich Town Council have put forward a proposal to modernise the Guildhall’s Market Square which includes resurfacing and the introduction of shared space.
The aim is to make the medieval town more suitable for 21st century living and attract more tourists.
The full proposal will go on show at a consultation day next Thursday at the Guildhall and all residents are invited to attend to share their views.
Cllr Dan Friend said: “This is a once in a generation opportunity to improve the town.
“In these modern times we need to make the town more attractive.”
Councillors were presented with the design at a project board meeting last Thursday.
The work, which will cost more than £1million, includes the realignment of Cattle Market to feature wider pavements and a lorry loading bay.
Kerbs, road markings and signs will all be removed along with the central island and zebra crossing, transforming the area into shared space where pedestrians take priority.
A new glass bus shelter engraved with historical maps and images will replace the current one.
Another artistic feature will be a weathered steel drainage showing references to the historic Cinque Ports.
There will also be a small water fountain at one end symbolising Sandwich’s relationship with the Delf Stream and its use as the only drinking water source.
Old memorial benches will be “sympathetically relocated” in the town and replaced with modern linear benches which will be lit up from underneath.
A tree in memory of former mayor Jane du Boulay will also be relocated and the council are seeking contact with any family members to discuss this.
New lanterns with hanging baskets, outdoor tables and chairs and floral planters will complete the new look.
Mayor of Sandwich Cllr Paul Graeme said: “The major change will be the surface and the reconfiguration of the bus stop area.
“We’re trying to help the tourism offering, attract more people into the town and promote cafe culture.”
Members have highlighted that the current surface on the forecourt is not medieval. It was last updated in the 1970s with granite setts.
Cllr Graeme said: “The new design will be presented to the public and their feedback will influence the final design that we will put to planning.
“Our aim is to put the planning application forward as soon as possible. The overall aim is to have it done by 2020 by the time The Open golf comes to Sandwich.
“An enormous amount of work has been put into this project by Sandwich Town Council, Dover District Council and Kent County Council over the last three years.
“The whole thing is a different concept and we really want to welcome as many people as possible to the consultation to share their views with us.”
The changes are outlined in the A New Vision for Sandwich project and the designs have been created by HMY and Mark Hanton Studio.
Have your say on Thursday, February 1 from 11am until 2pm and again from 4pm until 6.30pm at Sandwich Guildhall.