The work to improve Kendal’s historic Market Place is now nearing completion. In February, the finishing touch will be added in the form of a bespoke seat designed by Chris Brammall, the award-winning Cumbria sculptor and metalworker.
The Ulverston-based artist, famous for his iconic works which range from private commissions to impressive public realm projects across the country, has designed a stylish centrepiece for the area.
“As a popular meeting place and focal point for Kendal it was important that my design embraced the townscape and history and a big part of my inspiration is taken from the local rivers.
“We will be using both traditional hand-forging methods and modern fabrication techniques to create the unique shape and forms within the steel which depicts flowing water and movement,” said Chris.
The aim of the scheme was to create a high quality, versatile space suitable for hosting a wide range of community-focused events and markets.
Some of the recent improvements, while less obvious to the public, have made the space more useable by market traders and festival organisers. The electricity and water supply to Market Place has been upgraded and improvements to the drainage has reduced water pooling in wet weather. Seating has also been placed around the central lighting columns which were installed by Cumbria County Council earlier in 2017.
Kendal Town Council and its partners received positive feedback about the Christmas Lights Switch On event in November. Visitors lingered into the evening, boosting trade, due to the well-lit area, additional Christmas lights and new seating.
The initiative to improve and invest in Kendal’s Market Place is led by a project board which includes Kendal Town Council, Kendal Futures, Kendal Civic Society, South Lakeland District Council (SLDC), Cumbria County Council, Kendal BID and the Chamber of Commerce.
Following the outcome of a public consultation earlier this year, the project no longer includes a new central square paved area which many people thought was unimportant and divided public opinion.
The project board says the revised scheme is still in keeping with the original vision of decluttering Market Place to make it more welcoming, versatile and safe for residents and visitors alike.
Councillor Sylvia Emmott from Kendal Town Council who is chair of the project board, said: “We listened carefully to the comments made and as a result of the public consultation the scheme has been altered to reflect these. We can now get to work on the finishing touches, creating a space which is attractive, accessible and suitable for hosting a wide range of community-focussed events and markets.”
Martyn Nicholson, Chair of Kendal Futures, said: “There has already been a huge improvement. Work to improve the functionality of Market Place has really opened up the area, revealing a useable space which will become an exciting and vibrant attraction contributing to the prosperity of the town centre.
“The aspiration of Kendal Futures is to encourage additional future investment in Market Place if funding allows to further improve the look and feel of this important public space.”