All aboard for next phase of Evolution
Monday marks the launch of the latest phase of Hemel Hempstead’s transformative Evolution scheme.
The next stage of the £30million project involves the resurfacing of Waterhouse Street in the town centre, to create an extended taxi rank, more blue badge parking spaces and a new 10-minute pick-up and drop-off point.
The work, expected to last around four weeks, will be followed by the construction of a modern bus interchange at the shopping area.
When the first improvements are finished, the taxi rank will move to its new location, with the interchance expected to be in use by late autumn.
This stage of the works will also include relocating the seated planters, currently in Market Square, to the ramped area on Marlowes which will itself be renovated in a bid to attract more visitors to that part of the town.
Dacorum Borough Council, behind the initative, also plans to provide a new Arriva travel office and public toilet facilities on Marlowes.
Contractors Loughman are currently setting up their site compound on Market Square alongside Greenford, which is responsible for carrying out the ongoing improvements to Marlowes. The Wednesday antiques and bric-a-brac market moved from the Market Square to the newly completed stretch of Marlowes pedestrianised shopping area alongside Marks & Spencer in November.
Council leader Andrew Williams said: “Having a central site compound is really helping us to move quickly with our Hemel Evolution plans. We’ll make sure shops in the area are fully accessible and keep disruption to a minimum.
“It’s a temporary situation, and in the meantime there will be additional footfall for local shops from the construction workers. When Greenford and Loughmans move out, Market Square traders will be in a prime position to benefit from the new leisure and restaurant complex planned for the site – and the new bus interchange being built round the corner.”
As part of the regeneration of the town centre, new seating and play areas are being installed with the aim of allowing families to take time out to relax and have fun while shopping. The first of the new ‘play along the way’ areas to open near Marks and Spencer has a soft safety surface, interactive play equipment and when the weather warms up it will also include a water feature.
In the next few months, as work progresses, further new areas will open including tightropes, balancing balls and a super play zone with a variety of play equipment.