26. Kidderminster Public Realm Impact Study

Kidderminster Town Centre Public Realm Study

Wyre Forest District Council and the IBI Group

Like many other High Streets across the UK, Kidderminster has been struggling to retain footfall. In a bold new plan it secured funding to revitalise the town centre and enhance its vitality and viability.

Kada Research in association with AspinallVerdi, were commissioned to undertake an economic impact assessment of some public realm improvements in Kidderminster Town Centre for Wyre Forest Borough Council (Wyre Forest is a district in the north of the county of Worcestershire). The study was also part-funded by IBI Group who were interested in understanding more about the effects of their work. The study team developed a unique methodology to ascertain the economic and property (land uplift) impact of the development.

IBI Group developed themed designs for the street furniture and public art based on the town’s ‘rock music’ and postal heritage. The design addressed several challenges including traffic conflicts. The new design was simple and included minimal clutter improving the quality and quantity of space available to pedestrians. The works also provided a suitable setting for the Town Hall and created a valuable civic space for shoppers and events. The project was carried out between 2015 and mid 2017 at a cost of £2 million.

We did a street survey and used benchmarks and case studies to estimate the potential net productivity and land uplifts. We also summarised the many wider benefits that public realm can bring. The client described the study as a good read and used it to inform other projects. It was one of the first studies that we are aware of to assess both land value uplift as per the recent Government guidance and productivity benefits. If you are looking for a cost effective way of demonstrating the impact of public realm or similar investments do get in touch – we can do these studies quickly.

“I like this study on so many levels. We had strong materials from IBI showing the design framework. We were very confident of the impacts as we had surveyed the study area ourselves, spoke to the regeneration team and were building on a methodology we had used successfully elsewhere. I actually spoke to the contractor that undertook the work so the construction impacts were spot on!” ~ Karl Dalgleish, Kada Research, March 2018