Amber Valley Borough Council, in partnership with Groundwork Erewash Valley , is carrying out landscape improvements to Severn Square precinct in Alfreton Town Centre.

The scheme has been project managed by Groundwork Erewash Valley, and has involved the commissioning of an artist-blacksmith, Campbell Design Engineering, to design bespoke street furniture, which has be incorporated into the landscape scheme.

The project came about largely as a possible solution to reducing crime opportunities within the town centre, but also in an attempt to improve the general appearance of the shopping area and pedestrian experience.

A grant of approximately £22,000 has been approved by the East Midlands Development Agency to carry out the works, and the scheme will eventually extend northwards onto Institute Lane as part of a wider improvements programme, potentially funded by the AVBC Capital Programme fund.

The next stage will involve consultation with users/retailers/town council/police in an information-gathering exercise to provide an appropriate/sympathetic scheme.

Within the last five years CCTV cameras have been installed in the town, which have contributed to an overall reduction in crime within the centre. However, there are ‘blind spots' which the cameras cannot pick up. Severn Square is one such space, owing in part to the overgrown vegetation and also the high brick walls, which act as a visual barrier. It is a known crime spot, with the planting behind the high brick walls being used to conceal stolen goods.

In view of this, the scheme aims to open up views through the square. This will be easily achieved by removing the visual barriers, planting lower-growing and low maintenance plants thus eliminating opportunities for criminal activity. The intention is to redesign the space within existing layout constraints, creating a more pleasant environment to be used by shoppers, retailers and passers-by. There may also be opportunities for creating facilities for street activities such as street cafes or entertainment. Regard will be given to the following improvements as a result of an initial site audit:

  • increased visibility and perceived safety
  • quality of space and materials
  • provision for seating and rest
  • removal of physical obstructions to CCTV cameras

As part of the scheme, it is intended that an artist will be commissioned to produce a themed range of street furniture (including railings, seating and bins) for the Square. There may be the opportunity to extend this theme throughout the town centre in future years, exploring the cultural heritage of the Town, working to develop a visual identity for the town and inspiring a sense of place.

Project Objectives

  • To provide a safe, usable and attractive public space in the town centre comprising:

- Seating

- Low maintenance planting

- Bespoke furnishings with the opportunity for artistic intervention

  • To open up views through the square by removing visual barriers thus removing a potential crime spot.
  • To improve perceived personal safety
  • Involve and inform the business community in the redevelopment through the Town Centre Forum and also the Town Council.
  • Involve the local community in the design of bespoke public art features



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