The Proposals for the Public realm and Landscape take their cues from the history and evolution of Helston from a Medieval market town, to the centre of Cornwall’s mining heritage. The town is founded on this heritage with granite, water, and tin at its heart and this is evidenced in the town’s beautiful architectural character; the geometry of its wide granite streets with their flowing kennels and the cobbled opes and alleyways that connect the main streets to the back lanes and car parks.
Helston was founded at the important crossing of the River Cober, with many springs along the hillside producing water which fed the growing town – growth fuelled by tin streaming and mining to the north produced wealth which was invested in Helston’s fine granite buildings. Nothing exemplifies this better than Helston’s kennels. Water flowed through the streets, supplied by leats built with the expertise of the tin miners, edged in high-quality granite.
Our aims for the Re-imaging Helston’s High Streets project are to:
– Enhance Coinagehall Street, refurbish the kennels and pavements, and improve pathways in Meneage Street. Make more space for pedestrians and improve crossings for easier pedestrian movement.
-Refurbish the key access points such as Horse & Jockey Lane and make the centre of town more welcoming.
-Restore the town’s historic identity and pride in its impressive architecture.
-Increase a sense of community within the town centre by creating space for meetings, conversation and shared activity.
-Reduce traffic whilst enabling full access to all areas of the town.
-And attract more footfall to support the town centre economy.
If we are to make Helston town centre more attractive with more footfall to support the town centre economy, we need to make our streets safer and easier to use for pedestrians. Currently, there is so much through traffic that people feel unsafe crossing the roads and they don’t spend time enjoying and using our town centre.
We want to welcome everyone to Helston town centre, whether they arrive by car, bus, on foot or by other means, so we need to ensure access to all areas. But traffic which is just using the centre of Helston, especially Coinagehall Street as a shortcut only brings noise, fumes and congestion. The proposals defined here aim to reduce the traffic dominance of our town centre whilst not affecting access for trade, visitors and shoppers.
Cars and buses currently dominate Helston’s high streets. The aim of this project is to redress the imbalance between vehicles and pedestrians, making the town centre a more attractive and safe place for pedestrians, and providing better connectivity for the community and its visitors.
Less than a quarter of Helston’s original leats and kennels are visible today. Water has ceased to flow in much of the remaining network, which has been patched with modern asphalt and renders; this heritage has been buried or left to decline and collect weeds and dirt. The aim is to restore this, reinforcing local distinctiveness with careful choice of paving materials and detailing, using original paving as an inspiration; minimising visual clutter with a limited range of paving materials and colours, complementing but not copying original paving and using high-quality materials, laid well, with careful attention to detail helping to ensure the longevity of the scheme.