The first phase of a major £18m mixed-use regeneration scheme in Aylesbury town centre has been completed.
A £3.3m public realm at the heart of Aylesbury Vale District Council’s (AVDC) town centre masterplan, The Exchange opened to the public on Friday 8 March.
The mixed-use scheme has been supported by Local Growth funding from the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership.
Led by landscape architecture company Bradley Murphy Design (BMD) and delivered by developer Durkan, the public space will boost connectivity in the town centre.
The space is fully accessible, with sloped access for pushchairs, wheelchairs and other mobility aids. Formal and informal seating features inbuilt power-supplies.
Richard Waddell, senior associate at BMD and project lead for The Exchange said: “We were keen to create a top-quality piece of public realm, with a distinct character and sense of place.
“We are especially proud of the strong community engagement informing our design, with feedback from stakeholders shaping access options across the space.”
BMD also prioritised sustainability, creating a drainage system for the scheme which irrigates the square.
The Exchange also benefits from energy-efficient infrastructure, with phone charging points within seating, computer-controlled lighting to reduce energy levels beyond closing hours and pop-up power supplies for future events.
BMD and AVDC worked closely to develop an art brief for the space that provided a strong sense of local character. Artists bidding for the commission, were asked to reflect the town’s links to Stoke Mandeville, the birthplace of the Paralympics. Artist Colin Spofforth devised the concept of ‘I am’, expressed through three large sculptures that serve as focal points within the square.
The concept was extended to involve the personal identity and self-expression of the Aylesbury community, with residents, children and community groups providing quotes around what ‘I am’ means to them. These messages were then incorporated into the bespoke street furniture, paving and tree grilles designed by leading metalwork artist and blacksmith Chris Brammall.
Teresa Lane, assistant director, commercial property and regeneration at AVDC, said: “The Exchange delivers an exciting new vibrant hub which befits the town’s Garden Town status and will serve both Aylesbury residents and visitors across the region for years to come.”
And Shane Rooney, commercial director at Durkan, added: “The Exchange is a superb development at the heart of an exciting regeneration for Aylesbury.”
For more information about The Exchange, visit https://www.aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk/exchange.