New proposals by LDA Design to transform Market Square in the centre of Cambridge have gone out for community consultation.
Market Square is one of Cambridge’s most important public spaces, with traders selling their wares here since the Middle Ages.
The concept plans, developed in partnership with Cambridge City Council, are designed to safeguard the market’s future. Investing in new infrastructure will make it a better place to trade and shop, and extend usage into the evening. Improvements will support a successful and diverse market but with an improved stall layout and design that will allow the space to be used by the community for other events and activities, creating an inclusive, hard-working civic space that’s befitting a historic city.
Great care has been taken to work with the local stakeholders and the community to ensure new moves offer the kinds of improvements they want and need and that are sensitive to context and the area’s rich heritage.
The market runs from the Square seven days a week, and currently the framework for the stalls is permanently erected. A new durable and demountable stalls system, designed by architectural firm Neubau, will ensure the space is more adaptable and can be used for film shows, concerts or outdoor theatre.
The new layout will create more breathing room, opening up a corridor leading to the fountain at the centre of the Square. There are few places to sit in Market Square, so creating a generous seating and dining area either side of the fountain will make the space more sociable and usable and support a café culture.
A single unified surface across the Square will enhance accessibility. This includes restoration of listed granite setts. The presence of the road wrapping around the site will be reduced making time in the square more enjoyable.
A new underground waste management system will remove above-ground clutter to reveal views to Great St Mary’s Church, making the Boer War Memorial on the church’s chancel visible for the first time in decades. Access will also be improved to the Guildhall.
Commenting on the project, Tom Perry, studio lead for Cambridge, said: “We’re really proud to be working on such an important space at the heart of Cambridge city centre, where we set up our studio three years ago. Market Square will make a fantastic place to host film nights or concerts, as well as continuing to be a lively market by day.”
Consultation is open until 7 July.