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Knights Walk Public Drop in 21st June

Thank you to the 31 residents and stakeholders who attended our public drop in session last week. You can read a summary of what we found out here.

As the Development Management Team are still relatively new  it was great to be able to meet new people and hear about Knight's Walk from your perspective.

We ran three activities to help us gather insight around the themes of: 
  • The area, routes and movement
  • Types and qualities of open space
  • Height and size of new buildings

The area, routes and movement

We wanted to understand the key routes that people are taking through Knight’s Walk and whether they usually walk or cycle so we asked people to use the sticky dots provided to mark which routes they use most frequently.  We also want to know people's observations about the area, for example places they sit or places they feel unsafe, asking people to share things they have experienced or seen on Knight’s Walk and pin them onto the map. This activity aimed to collect the same type of information Catherine, Doug and Des from the Development Management Team gathered on the resident walkabout in June.
We learnt that:
  • Key public routes through the estate were seen as Knight's Walk and Kempsford Road;
  • People thought it was important that quiet walking and cycling routes through the estate were maintained particularly to link up to local primary schools;
  • A safe crossing point on Kennington Lane from Knight's Walk would improve safety;
  • The open green space and planting on the estate (including some of the greenery in private gardens) is seen as valuable as something lovely to look at even if people do not sit in these areas;
  • The alleyway beside Section House is used by some people but many people told us they do not use it as it does not feel safe.

Types and qualities of open space

We shared 8 examples of public open spaces and asked people to tell us what they thought about these spaces, did they like them or not like them and why. We wanted people to help us to identify the qualities of these spaces that they thought would work or not work for Knight’s Walk.  Landscape Architect, Des from Dally Henderson, was on hand to talk to people about the images and hear directly from them about what type of public space they think should be created. You can view the images we shared here and if you would like to tell us what you like or do not like about these images you can e-mail [email protected].

Key themes that people liked:

  • Using well defined planting to mark entrances;
  • Clear routes through for the public;
  • More well maintained greenery to provide 'breathing space' in the city;
  • Friendly, welcoming atmosphere.

Key themes that people did not like:

  • Spaces that felt 'clinical' without enough planting and too many rigid lines;
  • Bollards and street furniture that creates visual clutter (although maintaining pedestrian and cycling routes was seen as important);
  • Gravel or loose surfaces.
  • There was some debate about benches in public spaces with some thinking they attract anti social behaviour and others seeing them as a welcome place to pause.

Height and size of new buildings

We presented a three dimensional model of the existing Knight's Walk Estate and surrounding buildings and spaces alongside a model of ‘Scenario 2D’, as approved by cabinet in November 2015, which is now going through design development.

While the number of new homes to be provided on Knight's Walk was agreed at cabinet we wanted to test options for heights, volume and positioning of new buildings and how they relate to the surrounding streets and buildings.  Using 'Scenario 2D' as a starting point architects Doug and Isabel from Mae worked with people to create different versions of how the new homes could be placed in the location.  Each version was photographed with a polaroid camera and we collected people's comments.

Key things we learnt were:

  • People would rather keep heights lower towards the centre of Knight's Walk and higher at Kennington Lane;
  • Stepping back the building height from Knight's Walk was seen as helping the new buildings sit more comfortably next to the existing bungalows;
  • Lower buildings towards Kempsford Road in relation to the remaining bungalows and surrounding buildings.
What next

It will be an ongoing activity to understand how people who live, work and play around Knight's Walk will experience the new homes. We will be having another drop in session in the Autumn where we will have some initial proposals on how scenario 2D might be developed to share.

Please do contact me on  [email protected] if you have any questions or comments before then and you can sign up to this blog to receive all updates and digital mail outs.