Tonbridge Town Centre
Shortlisted for Best Outdoor Space at the 2016 Brick Awards
a mix of 65% staffordshire red 25% staffordshire brown brindle and 10% staffordshire blue square edged clay pavers, plain staffordshire blue clay square edged pavers, bespoke 200x200mm Staffordshire red clay pavers, Staffordshire blue corduroy paving, Staffordshire red and Staffordshire blue tactile paving, Staffordshire red drainage channel blocks, Staffordshire blue engineering facing bricks
Designer - Russell Florey, Amey Consulting
Contractor - Amey Highways
The overall principle of this Kent County Council scheme, designed by Russell Florey at Amey Consulting, was to shift priority from vehicles to pedestrians in Tonbridge town centre and thus provide a more pleasant environment for shoppers. Russell explains that “previously the pedestrian experience in Tonbridge had been poor with very narrow footways, wide carriageways and three Pelican crossings. The new scheme has widened the pavements significantly, narrowed the carriageway, constructed designated loading bays, imposed a 20mph speed limit and introduced a table top feature (carriageway & footways all at one level) to allow able-bodied pedestrians to cross more easily.”
There have historically been 2 sides to the center, one more modern but needing some regeneration and the other older and more traditional. The idea was to integrate the 2 sides and create a better shopping experience and a more attractive town centre. Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council (TMBC) played a key part in selecting the pallet of materials and were keen that it should be in keeping with the conservation areas of the town. The choice of Ketley square edged clay pavers in a mix of 65% Staffordshire red, 25% Staffordshire brown brindle and 10% Staffordshire blue was down to Geoff Pearson, Conservation Officer at TMBC. He explains “ there has been a long tradition in Tonbridge of using square edged paving for pavements and I was keen to continue this tradition and find the right mix of colour to match in with what is already there. I found Ketley provided the best match and I selected the mix of 65% Red, 25% Brown Brindle and 10% Staffs Blue and Kevin Coley’s team at Amey Highways have done a fantastic job of laying them in a random mix.”
Ketley’s tactile blister paving has been used at puffin crossings and the edge of junctions to demarcate the crossing area, and Ketley’s blue corderoy paving runs along the edge of the footway around the table top so that it is easy to detect the carriageway underfoot, the contrasting colour making this even more prominent.
Carleigh Westwell of DHA Planning also contributed, using her expertise in urban design to recommend how to use materials to create a different feel for an area and to demarcate certain parts for particular purposes. Loading bays, in Staffordshire blue herringbone, stand out from the walkways in their mixed colour running bond. She also advised on a different paver for the Botany area, a space designed for sitting and resting. Here, 200mmx200mm red square Ketley pavers create an area that blends in but has a different feel to the rest of the footway. Red drainage channels run through the center of this area and along the footways, matching in with the red paving and providing an aesthetic solution for removing surface water.
The scheme has been a real success and Ketley pavers have played a significant role by enhancing the historic area, giving a welcoming look and feel to the High Street.