This section is about the management and change of the public realm – the spaces between buildings which can include streets, alleys and courtyards that can be used, seen or appreciated by the public, irrespective of ownership or access. The section sets out the approach for harmonising the public realm in an historic area that also needs to work for the aspirations of people in the 21st century. It analyses the existing streetscape and proposes a uniform approach suited to the formal historic layout of the core Seven Dials Conservation Area and the surrounding streets.
It seeks to achieve a calm and dignified setting for the Sundial Pillar and for all seven radiating streets to be finished to a consistent design and palette for one of England’s key conservation areas.
It deals with the streets alleys, courts; the street furniture needed and permissible there, and, together with the Building by Building section, sets out an holistic and practical vision for maintaining and improving the Study Area to the benefit of ground floor enterprises, residents, upper floor businesses and our many visitors from all over the world.
The townscape in Seven Dials needs:
- Retention of the historic and unique street layout;
- Street surfaces that are appropriate to a mid-17th century street pattern (with later buildings for the most part);
- Retention of items and materials of heritage value where feasible and sensitive relocation if unavoidable;
- A network of clear ways for pedestrians to use in comfort and which are suitable for people with impairments;
- An appearance of ‘well-maintained, quiet quality’ to act as a setting for listed buildings and those of character in the Conservation Area;
- Minimum clutter from other objects and only essential equipment that earns its place in the street;
- Activities and moveable items in the public realm that complement the character of the buildings and area, but capable of clearance if they cause nuisance, danger or disadvantage those with specific access needs; and
- Management to keep it safe and clear.
On the diagram below, move the slider to the right to see existing treatment of footways and carriageways and to the left to see possible finishes.