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First winners announced for Pennine Lancashire ‘square’ designs

The first two winners have been announced in the Pennine Lancashire Squared architecture competition which aims to create six public ‘squares’.

Inspirational concept designs from Manchester-based Landscape Projects and from Civic Architects and Colour: Urban Design Ltd, for high profile public spaces in Accrington and Burnley respectively, have triumphed in the prestigious multi-site contest, commissioned by regeneration agency Elevate.

Landscape Projects’ winning entry reflects Accrington’s identity as a floral market town and proposes creating a flexible open space in front of the neighbouring market hall and town hall, with lighting of key buildings. The design team’s emerging ideas also include tree planting, seating and a dramatic cast iron curve telling the story of the town.

The winning entry for Burnley from Civic Architects and Colour: Urban Design Ltd proposes creating terraces of different sizes that can be used at different scales: an incidental rest on the way home; day to day use of the rejuvenated Neptune Inn; or large, programmed events like Burnley's annual Jazz Festival. The refurbishment of Neptune Inn is central to supporting public activity on the site.

Chair of the judging panel, Stirling Prize-winning architect Stephen Hodder MBE, said: “We were seeking something of truly international quality and the winning proposal for Accrington by Landscape Projects is exactly that. It is a scheme which respects the quality and setting of the town hall and the market but at the same time addresses the quite different qualities of Peel Street. The completed square will be something that the people of Accrington can be truly proud of.

“Civic Architects’ design for Burnley is equally inspirational. It is an intelligent scheme whose integrity will remain as the Weavers’ Triangle is regenerated. It is a scheme which responds to the particular character of the site and as such it will be unique and belong to Burnley.”

Neil Swanson from Landscape Projects said: “We're made up - we can’t wait to get going. For us Accrington is a fine town, one of the jewels of Pennine Lancashire, which needs a proper public place at its heart... a place for meeting, for markets, celebrations and events. It was great to meet with local people to discuss their ideas for the new square. We hope we've done them justice. It's a real privilege to be selected, and we're really excited at the prospect of taking our ideas further...and preparing Accy to make the best of the up-turn, when it comes."

Dan Jones, Director of Civic Architects, said: “This is a great opportunity to create a project that is the product of, and reflects, proper resident involvement. The ideas put forward in our design will be put to the test when we start working with local people".

Steve Rumbelow, Chief Executive Officer of Burnley Council, said: "Burnley's town centre is undergoing a great deal of change, from a new university campus to a new multi-million retail development, but alongside all this positive activity, it is important to have a space for performance, areas for entertainment, conversation and relaxation for people from all walks of life: Civic's design could do just that - and foster a real sense of pride within our region."

Elevate Chief Executive Max Steinberg said: “Pennine Lancashire has a series of towns at its heart, and each of them deserves a world class space at its centre to help invigorate the entire town. These two winning proposals for new additions and improvements to the public realm in Accrington and Burnley will create an inspirational environment for people to use and enjoy every day – and provide an outstanding example of world class landscape design. This is what the Pennine Lancashire Squared initiative is all about.”

Winners for the four other Pennine Lancashire towns - Blackburn, Bacup, Clitheroe and Nelson - are being selected by four judging panels, all headed by Stephen Hodder.

The judges are considering concept designs from landscape architecture and architecture teams, shortlisted from 78 Expressions of Interest from across the world. The other four practices which made the shortlist for Accrington were Austin-Smith: Lord, McChesney Architects, Balmori + S333, and Taylor Young Limited. The other three practices which made the Burnley shortlist were Camlin Lonsdale in association with Arca and Martin Stockley Associates, Kinnear Landscape Architects and Martin Stockley Associates, and LAND.

The Pennine Lancashire Squared competition is the brainchild of Yvette Livesey and her late partner, music mogul Anthony H Wilson, and was commissioned by Elevate on behalf of the Pennine Lancashire Leaders and Chief Executives (PLLACE).

The Landscape Institute, the chartered body for landscape architects, is running the competition, with the support of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). The competition has received funding from the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), Arts Council England and Lancashire County Council (LCC), and is being implemented by the Boroughs of Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Ribble Valley and Rossendale, with support from LCC. CABE Space is providing ongoing support for the development of Pennine Lancashire Squared.


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