Broadway Malyan helps Hemel Hempstead reimagine its High Street

Landscape architecture practice Broadway Malyan is behind the regeneration of Hemel Hempstead's Marlowes Shopping Zone, which opened on Friday.

Hemel Hempstead's regenerated High Street. Image: Broadway Malyan
Hemel Hempstead's regenerated High Street. Image: Broadway Malyan

Dacorum Borough Council commissioned Broadway Malyan to boost footfall for the town by making its new High Street open and attractive while linking it to the town's Water Gardens.

The £4 million public realm regeneration is the first UK project to feature Broadway Malyan's 'play on the way' concept. This sees play equipment, including trampolines and interactive water features, installed along the length of the street to attract more families and increase dwell times.

Pedestrian safety has been prioritised, with traffic control measures, improved paving and seating with an attractive central spine of planting and trees.

Water and power points along the street will also help boost the town's market, which has been relocated to the area.

The project was led by Broadway Malyan's directors of landscape architecture Allan Cox and Danny Crump.

Crump, who ran the project from its inception, said: "High Streets are not just physical connections between places, but a town's social and economic hub. When considering our masterplan, we took a fresh look at the concept of a High Street – aiming to create a functional, but fun space that promotes the community's health, happiness and well being.

"We wanted to create a safe and open social space which reflects the town's impressive waterways and natural landscapes. By limiting traffic, creating adaptable spaces and implementing our unique 'play on the way' concept we have helped to create an open and accessible pedestrian-focused space – encouraging community activities and interaction as well as creating an effective place to do business."

As part of the regeneration, Broadway Malyan designed the new multifunctional town square, including a water feature that can be transformed into a large town events space. The square also includes a display screen to broadcast live events, films and for public information as well as an artist-designed performance canopy with 'plug and play' facilities.

Cox believes that this project, together with other regeneration initiatives, will have a positive impact on the fortunes of Hemel Hempstead's town centre.

He said: "Quality landscape architecture adds value to spaces. With Hemel Hempstead facing strong competition from nearby towns, we see our design giving its High Street a genuine point of difference.

"This re-imagined High Street will attract visitors to use and experience its attractive communal spaces, shops, entertainment and distinctive character."

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