Spencer Yard has been identified as having the most potential to kick start the regeneration of the area in the first phase of development. Spencer Yard is already home to a number of creative businesses on a key route from the station to the town centre, has the ability for short and long-term impact, and is home to the United Reform Church which is Grade II Listed and at risk of further deterioration if intervention doesn’t occur in the near future. The scheme has been designed to be a new digital creative business hub, encouraging collaboration in the sector with other creative industries and the public.
The Yard will be more inviting, with improved pedestrian access into the yard and new wayfinding and lighting next to the URC. The area will be more open by limiting the amount of car parking on-site and improving facilities for cyclists. However, vehicular access will be maintained from Spencer Street for visitors, deliveries, emergency services and Blue Badge Holders. The current proposals include 4 visitor spaces and 3 accessible spaces, with additional visitor parking provided at the new Station Approach Car Park or at Bath Place.
The United Reform Church is proposed to be restored to its former glory transforming the space into a flagship space for the Creative Quarter. The basement crypts are proposed to be turned into individual pods and studios with social meeting space and kitchen. A mezzanine level will be extended and access will be via a grand central atrium, showcasing the original painted glass windows and decorative ceiling. New doors and steps to the rear will open up on the yard, and social spaces will be incorporated.
The Nursery is currently inward-looking and has a poor relationship with the other buildings and yard. The façade will be activated through new windows and doors, a rear extension will provide much more usable flexible space, and a rooftop terrace will improve its relationship with the URC.
The Old Dole Office will have a more active glazed frontage, with new windows and a lightweight second storey extension. Space will feel quite industrial owing to its heritage as the Camouflage building, and will provide two open spaces joined by a kitchen and toilet facilities on the ground and first floors. The top floor will be open and is proposed to be a mix of aluminium and glass.
The hope for the future is that The Yard will become an events space, welcoming a range of creatives. Whilst having listened to feedback this doesn’t form part of this application, we welcome your thoughts on this now to inform the next phase of works.
Below are some of the latest visuals of the proposed scheme.