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November 9, 2020

Colchester Town Investment Plan

Several of our projects have been included in Colchester's Town Deal funding bid - an ambitious plan for up to £25m of Government funding to be invested in Colchester post-Covid to help transform the town.

We are very happy that £1m of advance funding has already been secured for the improvements to St Nicholas Square we have already started work on, and further funding has been requested for the development of our proposals at Balkerne Gate, Holy Trinity Square and the implementation of kerbless and green streets within the town.

The Town Deal bid was developed in consultation with a wide range of businesses and with surveys interviewing hundreds of local residents about their priorities. Colchester's lead councillor for business, David King, commented that "Residents want the town to be made more attractive and for improvements to be made to infrastructure. The projects We Are Colchester have submitted to the Government address these issues. With the help of other investors, we can make a huge difference to residents and help businesses and those they employ at this difficult time to have confidence in Colchester's future, as a great place to live, work and visit."

The full plan is available to read here.

November 5, 2020

Indies Route

The vision and strategy we developed for the Colchester Business Improvement District (BID) is now going to be implemented with funding from Colchester Borough Council, among other sources.

Projects from our strategy that the BID aim to deliver in the next 12 months include specially commissioned new street signage artworks at key sites along the main independent shopping streets, from Crouch Street through Sir Isaac's Walk and Eld Lane onto Queen Street, and 'Lighting the Lanes' - a lighting installation project to make it feel more welcoming at all times of day and night.

Now more than ever, the 'shop local' message should be encouraged, and we recommended that local designers, makers, suppliers and fabricators should be commissioned to realise these ideas, in line with the remit of supporting and showcasing the independent sector in the town. We are excited to see the BID take these ideas forward, helping our fellow businesses to make the most of 2021 after this challenging year.

Our full report is available to view here.

October 1, 2020

St Nicholas Square

We are really thrilled that our work in 2018 with Colchester Borough Council on their Key Public Spaces is being taken forward, after ‘We Are Colchester’, a local partnership involving public, private and voluntary organisations was awarded £1 million from the Government’s Town Deal Fund. Cllr David King has commented that “We want a safe, vibrant and attractive social hub for people to meet and sit outside, helping to blend the day and night-time economies and boosting footfall.”

We will be focusing on St Nicholas Square, the site of the former St Nicholas churchyard, which is gradually becoming surrounded by a range of bars and restaurants. We aim to retain the memory of the small graveyard plots left over from the demolition of the church in the 1950s, while creating a lively and welcoming square by reducing the current dominance of vehicle movements through the space.

June 22, 2020

Smith Centre shortlisted for RIBA award!

We are thrilled to have had the Science Museum Smith Centre shortlisted for the RIBA Regional Awards, South London. All of the shortlisted projects from across the country are featured in the June edition of the RIBA Journal. The awards are judged by physically visiting each shortlisted project, which has unfortunately been delayed and the awards consequently postponed due to the current coronavirus crisis. However, RIBA hope that in line with official government advice they will be able to resume judging and conclude the process in the second half of the year.

June 18, 2020

Ely Museum continues on site

Although Covid-19 has brought some delays, our work at Ely Museum continues to make great progress on site, with the new extension really taking shape. More information about the project is available on the dedicated project page and featured here are a selection of images from our latest site visit.

March 20, 2020

The quiet life must be heard

Hana has written a piece for the latest edition of ICON magazine, calling for a new design discipline that shares and amplifies the innovative, radical thinking of the countryside.

"Rural communities want rural design, not an adaptation of urban design."

"Our rural communities want radical change – but we want it in a way that grows from the understanding we have of our own places and communities, not a set of patronizing assumptions about how we are told we should develop. "

Read the full article here.

February 24, 2020

The Modern Day Picturesque

Hana will be taking part in a panel discussion exploring "the radical changes needed to secure the future of our countryside" in response to Petra Marko and Sarah Featherstone's RIBA funded research report and work on VeloCity, alongside the co-authors and Meredith Bowles of Mole Architects, chaired by Alicia Pivaro. The event, titled 'The Modern Day Picturesque', is part of RIBA's 'Perspectives on Architecture' series and will take place on Tuesday 10th March at RIBA in London. Further information is available here.

February 13, 2020

Jaywick Sands Workspace

Building on our work for the Jaywick Sands Place Plan, we have been commissioned by Tendring District Council to investigate the potential for the development of affordable workspace units in Jaywick, with a focus on supporting business growth and start-ups within the local community. We are collaborating with consultant surveyor Richard Bailey on the project.

February 7, 2020

Hana a judge for MacEwan Award 2020

Hana was honoured to be asked to be one of the judges for the MacEwan Award 2020, run by the RIBA Journal and focusing on social responsibility, 'architecture for the common good'. A priority on the environment was also a feature this year, as noted in the February edition of the RIBA Journal (here), along with features on the eventual winner (Park Palace Ponies, in Liverpool) and the other commended entries.

"It's nice and all from the right heart." Hana on Margate Caves, one of the commended entries.

January 27, 2020

All at sea? Ken Worpole & Hana Loftus in conversation

As part of Essex Book Festival Hana will be in conversation with writer and social historian Ken Worpole around the topic of flooding and the Essex coastline, with particular reference to our work at Jaywick Sands. This is due to take place at Firstsite, Colchester on Sunday March 15th at 11am. Further information and tickets are available here. UPDATE: due to unforseen circumstances the talk has had to be postponed to an as yet unscheduled date later in the year.