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Winner of Nelson’s Pennine Lancashire Squared contest announced

The winner of Nelson’s Pennine Lancashire Squared competition has been announced.

It’s a team comprising Newcastle upon Tyne based Robinson Landscape Design, Newcastle architectural practice Reid Jubb Brown and Berlin based architecture and art consultancy Kapok.

Their entry, “Tuning Nelson”, with its vision of greening Nelson and realising the potential of existing buildings and spaces, impressed the judging panel in the international design contest.

Proposals included introducing grassed areas, trees, seating and roof gardens in the town centre, lighting and linking existing landmarks, extending canopies and using public art to promote urban renewal.

The competition was commissioned by regional regeneration agency Elevate.

Pennine Lancashire Squared aims to lead to the creation of unique and high profile public spaces or squares not just in Nelson, but also in Burnley, Accrington, Blackburn, Bacup and Clitheroe.

In Nelson proposals centred on the Place de Creil - the space between the Pendle Rise Shopping Centre and the former Woolworths building, through the town to the new ACE building. The winners aim to boost use of the town centre and its public spaces stressing an ambition to “develop a bold pride in what Nelson is, what Nelson has and what Nelson can do.”

The team stressed their aim is to “make minimal alterations to elicit maximum effects by revitalising under-used urban assets.” Overall the intention is to “cultivate civic pride” and encourage use of the town centre.

Mr Tom Robinson owner and director of Robinson Landscape Design said: “We’re delighted to have won. We think the town has got some tremendous assets. Our approach was let’s look at those and look at how, by practical improvements, we can improve not just the appearance of the town, but how it works and embed art in the changes we make.”

He stressed that there was no intention of imposing “pointless art objects or landscape patterns” on local streets. Mr Robinson said Nelson’s assets include the town’s location in the Pennines and at the heart of east-west communication links, its many fine buildings and its wonderful views of surrounding landscape.

“We’re looking to use art, landscape and urban design and architecture in practical steps to improve how the town works – that’s why we called our submission ‘Tuning Nelson.’ ”

One of the team, Robert Slinger, a director of Kapok, was born in Colne and raised in Foulridge. Mr Robinson said his local knowledge was crucial in shaping their proposals.

Any proposals would be developed with full consultation with local residents and Pendle Council.

Councillor John David, Leader of Pendle Council, stressed that the proposals did not affect existing plans for Nelson town centre, including opening the Place de Creil to traffic and work on Market Street, Manchester Road, Leeds Road and Scotland Road.

Councillor David said: “There were some good ideas from the winning team and it’s a team we feel we can work with to develop some of their ideas and add some of our own - if funding is available. The team also recognises the importance of integrating the new ACE Centre into town centre improvements.”

He continued: ”What is really important is for us to have down to earth projects which are practical – exactly the traditional characteristics of Nelson and its people of which we are justly proud.”

Brian Cookson, Pendle Council’s Executive Director (Regeneration), said: “The team were very enthusiastic, pragmatic and creative as well. They picked up on the existing character and heritage of the town, whilst making it a pleasanter and greener environment.”

Max Steinberg, Chief Executive of Elevate, said: “The Pennine Lancashire Squared initiative is all about bringing out the personalities of six local towns, giving each one a world class space at its centre to help rejuvenate the wider area.

“The winning team has recognised the special character of Nelson. Their proposals enhance and complement that character, helping ensure people enjoy living, working in and visiting the town. These proposals are both imaginative and achievable, showing how world class landscape, public realm and artistic design can benefit everyone.”

Chair of the Judging Panel, Stirling Prize-winning architect Stephen Hodder, MBE, said: “The Pennine Lancashire Squared brief for Nelson was challenging in seeking a framework for public art in the town.

“The winning submission is an outstanding response in that it seeks to integrate urban design, landscape, architecture and art by proposing interventions with the existing fabric of the town. In time of recession this tangible and stimulating investment is surely what is required, rather than monuments and memorials.

“This is a scheme for now, unique to Nelson, and one that the community can embrace.”

The other short listed teams for Nelson were: Gillespies; Birds Portchmouth Russum; Cracknell in partnership with Sarah Wigglesworth Architects, Freeform and Shahida Ahmed; and tonkin liu with remapp.

The public had the opportunity to comment on entries from the five short-listed teams during a three week exhibition of proposals held in The Admiral’s Marketplace, Nelson from March 17th.

The Pennine Lancashire Squared competition was suggested by 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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