This urban design and public realm study has been commissioned by the London Borough of Redbridge and Design for London. The specific aim of the study is to maximise the potential for delivering high quality urban design and open space along a 4 km stretch of High Road along the Crossrail corridor which includes the stations Ilford Hill, Seven Kings, Goodmayes and Chadwell Heath.
There are two components to the study:
Task A: which looks at the stretch of high road east of Ilford metropolitan centre to the district centre of Chadwell Heath.
Task B: looks at the proposals for the new Station Plaza at Ilford.
Throughout its 2000 year history, the High Road has been a major route to and from the centre of London. Recent processes of urbanisation have led to its transformation into a vibrant and diverse high street serving large residential areas to the north and south. With major changes taking place within the local and surrounding areas the High Road is now at a key point in its history. New developments are taking place close by within east London - the Lea Valley, Stratford, Olympic Park, Thames Gateway and more locally, Ilford and Romford. With confirmation of Crossrail serving stations along the High Road there is now a high level of developer interest in the area. Combined with pressure to meet the Borough’s housing targets there is a need to develop a well-managed approach to guide new development and to ensure that maximum benefits are achieved in terms of renewal and regeneration of the area.
Crossrail is a significant infrastructure project for London and provides the opportunity to greatly improve the accessibility of the High Road area. It is essential that both where new station designs are being developed (Ilford Hill) and where improvements to existing stations are envisaged (Seven Kings, Goodmayes & Chadwell Heath), that the opportunity is taken to integrate the stations fully with the wider urban area and improve accessibility. The station interchanges will be considerable attractors for local residents wishing to access central London as well as potentially destinations in their own right. Good permeability of the local urban area and connectivity to the wider public transport network, in particular, high quality pedestrian and cycle links, will be necessary to ensure full integration of the new station and rail services.
This Study will form part of the evidence base for the Crossrail Corridor Area Action Plan currently being prepared by LB Redbridge and will feed into the Development Plan Document. The overall objective is to produce a series of guidelines that improve the High Road as a major destination and provide a vision for it as a coherent and vibrant street.
The overall aims include to:
produce built environment design guidelines for new developments which integrate with and enhance the existing context
identify focal points for public space improvements and to develop these with costings and outline phasing details
provide a local movement strategy that identifies the function of the main road, opportunities for integration of pedestrians and cycle routes, and key public space improvements.
interpret the vision set out in current legislation and guidance and take into consideration the adopted Development Plan Documents
identify ongoing and emerging project work maximise the regeneration benefits in a way that builds a strong identity and cohesive urban structure for future growth
The study area follows the route of the High Road from the eastern boundary of Ilford Metropolitan Centre to the borough boundary with London Borough of Barking and Dagenham at Chadwell Heath. The High Road runs alongside the railway line which connects from Shenfield, Essex, to London Liverpool Street and includes the stations at local centres, Seven Kings and Goodmayes and district centre Chadwell Heath.
Currently the study area is characterised by a diverse mix of uses, scales and building typologies and is altogether a vibrant place. However, it suffers from a range of issues including a fragmented and poor quality public realm particularly around the major transport centres. These negative characteristics need to be addressed to allow the area to take full advantage of this unique moment in the transformation of East London and to continue to develop as a major high street serving surrounding communities.
The strategy has been developed by taking a ‘bottom up approach’ involving broad consultation with individual stakeholders including: LBR Planning, Housing, Highways, Education, Sports and Leisure; PCT; Town Centres and BID manager; Crossrail Urban Integration Team.
Building on the inherent characteristics of the area, the proposals aim to transform Roman Road and existing communities to mesh with the new. The study focuses on transformation rather than change; renewal and repair rather than replacement. It looks to identify and enhance the inherent ‘high road’ qualities specific to this place, through tight grain, active frontages, diverse mix of uses, scale and character of buildings.
A level of detail has been developed at a range of scales from strategic connections to proposals for key sites to specific public realm projects to suggestions for materials and street furniture. These can help to transform the High Road over varying timescales from a traffic dominated, often chaotic space into a coherent shared public space.
It is worth noting that the Area Action Plan process is an ever-changing process and although this study reacts to known elements, we acknowledge that there are things that are currently unknown and will need to be addressed in further stages of design.
The Structure of the Study
The study is divided into four main sections. The first section, High Road Identity investigates the characteristics of the High Road and wider area. The second section, Urban Design Principles presents the opportunities for change and a strategy for improvement, enhancement and development. The third section Opportunity Sites looks at development opportunities, setting out design guidelines and illustrative proposals. The fourth section, Public Realm Sites identifies public space focal points and provides both a design framework and outline designs for these with costings and phasings.