Hexham town centre improvement scheme to start in July
05 Jun 2023 ARCHIVED (over 3 months old) - view latest news
Work is due to start on Monday 3rd July on a major public realm improvement scheme to revitalise Hexham’s historic town centre.
The planned improvements are part of over £2.4m investment which has boosted the town centre through the Hexham High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) delivered by Northumberland County Council in partnership with Historic England.
The HSHAZ aims to make the town a more attractive, engaging and vibrant place for people to live, work and visit, while also enhancing the Conservation Area status of the town centre.
The works, being managed by the council, will focus on the key corridor of Priestpopple, Cattle Market and Battle Hill and includes upgrading paving materials to complement the historic surroundings as well as widening a section of pavement on the north side of Priestpopple.
Pedestrian safety will be enhanced, and new planters and trees will be introduced to ‘green’ the area. On-street parking will be reconfigured to include an accessible parking bay, an electric vehicle charging point and wider bays.
Once finished, the street will operate as it currently does and there will be no change to road layout, pedestrian crossing points, the taxi rank or the junction at Eastgate.
Northumberland County Council consulted widely on the proposals for the scheme and received hundreds of responses from local residents, business and organisations. Feedback has been incorporated into the design development wherever possible, following a full technical appraisal and road safety audit.
This has resulted in the removal of proposed works to the lower section of the B6306 road leading to Eastgate junction and the final scheme will retain the current highway arrangements.
The scheme is expected to be completed in phases, starting on the south side of Priestpopple in July and moving gradually west, with completion expected in Spring 2024. There will be a pause in construction during the Christmas trading period.
As construction work will be taking place in a busy area of the town and need to be completed safely, a temporary one-way system will be introduced which will enable the free flow of traffic operating from west to east. This was identified as the best option, promoting traffic flow, creating the least congestion and protecting pedestrians and the workforce. Clear signage will be in place to inform motorists of the one-way system and diversion routes.
Businesses in the affected area will shortly be receiving an invitation to a local drop-in session providing an opportunity to find out more about the scheme and discuss any queries with the project team in advance of the works starting.
The planned work also complements the heritage lighting scheme that was installed in the first phase last year and will deliver further investment in the target area already benefitting from the HSHAZ building grants scheme with nine properties in the area now awarded grant support.
These include highly visible enhancements to the Coach and Horses, Vercelli and 1 & 3 Cattle Market, with further projects completing at The Royal Hotel on Priestpopple and Stait Photo and Hexham Dental Practice on Battle Hill.
Northumberland County Councillor Wojciech Ploszaj, cabinet member for Business said:
“The public realm work is an important investment by the council to help revitalise Hexham’s historic town centre and we have listened carefully to the views of local residents and businesses while developing the scheme.
“New developments and work near a highway inevitably cause some disruption which cannot be avoided, and we thank residents and businesses for their patience and support whilst this important work is carried out to improve their town.”
Jules Brown from Historic England said: “We’re delighted to be contributing to this project through the Hexham High Streets Heritage Action Zone. The rejuvenation of the public areas around Priestpopple, Cattle Market and Battle Hill will go a long way to enhancing the look and feel of the historic town centre, improving the spaces for pedestrians in particular.”
Hexham HSHAZ is part of a national £95 million government-funded programme led by Historic England designed to secure lasting improvements and rejuvenate historic high streets.
Information on the scheme and the phasing of works is available on the county council’s website: nland.cc/HexhamPRS