Hereford Cathedral and River Wye Quarter Public Realm Improvement


Burroughs was appointed by Herefordshire Council to design the public realm improvements within the Cathedral and Rive Wye Quarter of Hereford, reallocating road space to pedestrians and cyclists by re-imagining the street layout. We have successfully supported Herefordshire Council since 2021, taking the scheme through the early RIBA 2-3 stages and more recently the subsequent RIBA 4 technical design stage to March 2024 on time and within budget, ready for the contractor procurement process.  As a town centre site that is steeped in heritage, there has been significant stakeholder interest throughout the design stages, both from adjacent business owners to the heritage enthusiasts, with a very well attended/responded to public consultation process and we have closely supported the Herefordshire Council team with all stakeholder engagement.

The project has created an attractive, vibrant city centre that will support businesses and encourage people to stay longer when they visit, boosting the local economy. Addressing the need for community spaces, we have provided areas for small events, activities, and street dining, with plenty of attractive seating and planting. The unique character of the historic Cathedral Quarter was a key consideration in the concept designs, along with making the area safe and enjoyable for all users, blending modern living in a historic setting and achieving a design where a sense of place had a priority over the need for vehicular, pedestrian and cycling movement. We engaged with multiple stakeholders including the Royal National College for the Blind, to get feedback on our accessible design proposals and ensure they met the needs of all users.

Working closely with our urban design partners, our inclusive designs focussed on the user experience, prioritising pedestrians and active travel, whilst also maintaining essential routes for buses and visitor coaches, taxis and emergency services. Increasing biodiversity, active travel and tree canopy cover, to support the Declaration of Climate Emergency, we also specified a sustainable, high-quality material palette to suit the historic setting whilst ensuring the historic views to and all heritage assets were maintained. Critically, we future proofed our designs for the street to reduce maintenance and improve adaptability for future needs.

Parking was a key theme with lots of concerns and objections raised, an example being from the adjacent Cathedral School who use a section of the scheme with their school mini-buses and coaches.  We led numerous meetings and developed a parking plan that located the disabled bays appropriately such that they also allowed these to be utilised by the mini-buses for the limited times they required.  Existing utilities are extensive across the site and we had to work very closely with the statutory utility providers to develop layouts that allowed the new street trees and infrastructure to avoid/minimise impact on their assets which informed their C3/4 estimates.  We also had to design our proposals to accommodate the May Fair annual event with the careful location of street furniture, landscaping and retrofit sustainable urban drainage to ensure the continued safe operation of this famous event.

We have completed the scheme successfully to RIBA 4 with excellent client feedback and we now wait for confirmation on the contractor procurement to hopefully continue to support the authority through RIBA 5 and 6 to completion and handover.

Client / Project TEam

Herefordshire County Council