Some off-site highway works were required to be carried out as a condition of the planning permission for The Yard development. The local planners had requested that the lighting in the Mina Rd tunnel leading up to The Yard be upgraded and some sort of traffic calming be implemented.
AVAG was keen to improve on the planners wishes by creating a 'Homezone', a concept based on the Dutch ‘woonerf’ model in which the priority of the vehicle is relegated below that of the pedestrian and cyclist. The intention was to calm traffic in the area, improve conditions for non vehicular users, stop antisocial pavement parking, 'green up' the roadways and improve the look and feel of the area.
An intensive design and consultancy process was undertaken by the local community and AVAG. This was an engaging and empowering neighbourhood process that was not without struggle and yet finally consensus on layout and design was achieved.
As a result, the roadways in Ashley Vale have been transformed by the local community and AVAG. Planting spaces have been built in to the road that are looked after by immediate neighbours, vehicular access and parking have been re-jigged to improve conditions for pedestrians and cyclists, and an easier route for larger services vehicles such as bin wagons to carry out their tasks has been facilitated.
The experience of agreeing, designing, building and successfully completing the Ashley Vale Homezone really brought the local neighbourhood together, has improved the way of life in the Ashley Vale valley, and we continue to work as a community on the scheme with regular and very enjoyable planting and maintenance events throughout each year.
AVAG allocated a budget of £25k to acheive the ambitions of the agreed scheme. In the end, the total cost of the scheme was just under £13k because we negotiated hard with competing contractors at a slack time of the year and local residents did as much work as could be allowed, such a constructing above ground planters and laying cobbles.
We hope that the story of our Homezone may empower others to undertake similar neighbourhood excercises. Our mission has always been 'building a community' and we truly believe that the succesful implementation of our Homezone has added to the quality and strength of the local community in the Ashley Vale area in general, along side our self build project in The Yard.