Melksham, Wiltshire (How to do a street audit)
Region: South West
Unitary Authority: Wiltshire
Summary: The following case study shows how a 'street audit' was undertaken in Melksham, a small historic market town located in West Wiltshire which has many historic buildings, the majority in the centre are listed.
A street scene audit was undertaken alongside an access audit in the Market Place, High Street, Bank Street, Canons Square and Church Street in April 2005. It covered subjects including: buildings, pedestrian environment, traffic, street furniture, and public spaces. Under each section, 10 questions were asked regarding the street environment and its quality. The audit was intended to be non technical for residents and stakeholders within the area to provide feedback on their perspective of the condition of the streetscape. An extract of the audit on ‘Street Furniture’ included the following questions;
- Is there a unified style of street furniture?
- What condition is the street furniture in?
- Does the street furniture obstruct any footways or detract from any building frontages? If yes, please describe.
- Is the style of the street furniture in keeping with the surroundings?
- Are the signs directing pedestrians around the area suitably located?
- Are there any redundant signs or sign posts? If yes please describe.
- Is there any public art or a monument within the street? Please describe.
- Is there an opportunity for any? If yes please describe.
- Are the public transport facilities appropriately located?
- What is the condition and design of any shelters?
- Is there any seating for pedestrians? Is the street furniture in keeping with the surroundings?
Following the audit a report including photos was prepared covering each of the streets individually and providing a summary of each subject heading. In addition a database of information with supporting drawings could have been created detailing all of the street furniture; material locations; providing an overview of their condition and historical importance to the street scene. The information could then be used at a later date to establish what elements within the streetscape hold importance and should be retained or reused. The street audit could also include questions covering the following: adaptability of the street to different uses; shop front/frontage presentation; and street surfaces.
It is important to note that the street audit was limited by scope of the project and the success of the street audit is difficult to measure. However, observations show significant citizen and stakeholder participation with many comments recorded and filtered into the scheme process.
Keywords: DESIGN IN CONTEXT; MANAGEMENT PLANS