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As part of a multi-million pound regeneration scheme, Kirkby Town Centre has undergone a dramatic transformation to revive the heart of the town and reflect the strong community spirit amongst Kirkby residents. Hardscape worked alongside architects Broadway Maylan, regeneration specialist St Modwen and Knowsley and Metropolitan Borough Council – to achieve the vision of a town centre that would benefit residents, businesses and locals alike.
The regeneration linked together four key spaces – Civic Square, St Chad’s Parade, Newtown Gardens and the Market Square – to create a sense of unity in the market town. Hardscape played an integral role in the transformation of the heart of the new town centre – especially the Civic Square, a popular area used for community events. The project was a truly community based effort as locals were encouraged to suggest ideas, memories and characteristics of Kirkby that could influence the end design.
Hardscape was tasked with creating an inspiring space that would complement the spectacular artwork that had been erected in the town centre, reflecting the town’s creativity and uniqueness. Of particular note is the striking, giant steel elephant in a Viking boat, which is inspired by the ‘Enthusiastic Elephant’ poem written by Knowsley-born poet Edward Lear and Kirkby’s Norse origins. There are also three giant golden winged thrones which symbolise the notion of letting your imagination take flight.
Hardscape used Kellen Lavaro concrete to pave the town centre, covering an areas of approximately 13,000 square metres. Kellen was chosen due to its decorative natural stone appearance, whilst being cost effective for such a large area. It is also durable enough to stand up to vehicular traffic which was an important consideration in a bustling town centre. By using a blend of Salmon and Paars paving tiles, a perfect balance of pink and purple warm tones was achieved, contrasting with the dynamic orange tones of the throne statues.
Using its bespoke Artscape process, Hardscape sandblasted the welcome sign on the entrance to Kirkby Market. Highly pressurised air, mixed with an abrasive material, was used to sandblast the text on to the granite surface. This created a contemporary feel to the entrance of such an integral part of the town.
The end result
Managing Director at Hardscape, Mathew Haslam said, “The regeneration of Kirkby Town Centre has been inspired by what makes Kirkby unique and a strong community spirit. Although the project was logistically challenging, with the site requiring delivery of over 100 loads of material in a short period of time, it was extremely rewarding to be involved in this creative regeneration scheme, to attract new businesses and visitors to the area.”
The new town centre has successfully created a sense of identity for Kirkby’s residents through the use of public art and the overall effect is an inviting space that the local residents can be proud of and visitors can enjoy.