+44 (0) 161 200 5500
+44 (0) 161 200 5500
Widnes Town Centre Improvements
- Project date
- North West England
- Halton Borough Council
- Associated team members
- Associated documents
URBED have been working with our friends at United Creatives in their new field of ‘Environmental Branding’ – an all round look at the diverse messages a place gives out to various audiences, and its successful functioning in terms of pedestrian movement, urban design and commercial vitality. The latest beneficiary of our combination of art, urban planning and place marketing is wonderful Widnes, which is keen to care for its lively high street and thriving classic market alongside prestigious new department stores M & S and NEXT as they open up next year.
Widnes is a Victorian town of around 60,000 souls on the banks of the Mersey, 20 minutes from Liverpool and half an hour from Manchester on the Trans-Pennine express rail line. It traverses the only crossings of the Mersey for some 10 miles in each direction, linking the M62 and M56 corridors via the famous ‘Runcorn Bridge’, and the West Coast mainline rail spur to London (only 1 hour 45 minutes away).
Still retaining some of the specialist fine chemical manufacturing from which its 19th century wealth developed, Widnes has spent the last 15 years or so quietly delivering hundreds of millions of pounds of regeneration investment, without excessive fanfare or hubris.
Among other achievements led by Halton Borough Council, one of the first new Unitary Authorities, Widnes has built a new Rugby League Stadium and conference venue, relocated its ageing market into a fine retail mall with supermarket and department store, Green Oaks Centre, and now attracted Marks and Spencer and Next to a new town centre Shopping Park.
Other investments include the Heritage Lottery Fund assisted £3m restoration of Victoria Park, a trebling in size of the wonderfully restored Victorian Library, conversion of the listed Town Hall to a boutique hotel, and major expansion of the ‘Riverside College’ of FE.
URBED’s team brings together United Creatives, well known local artist Jane Anderson (curator at Manchester’s CUBE, the Centre for Understanding of the Built Environment) and experienced commercial property advice from Keppie Massie’s Rupert Lowe.
Our project is stimulating a creative approach across the range of council services and hopes to offer a holistic action plan covering branding, marketing materials, activities, public realm management, shop-fronts and movement patterns.
Try Widnes branding has now been impemented in the town, with a number of maps to aid wayfinding