Broomhill Futures

Year | 2014
Location | Sheffield, UK
Client | BBEST – Broomhill, Broomfield, Endcliffe, Summerfield and Tapton Neighbourhood Planning Forum

Broomhill Futures worked alongside BBEST, a local residents group to develop a design guide for their neighbourhood area. Our project focused on four key areas: active travel corridors, open green spaces, Broomhill’s retail district and conservation areas.

The team provided a series of design guides focusing on areas we found interesting in Broomhill, such as its retail core and public realm. We also produced presentation boards and a model of the entire district to aid BBEST in engaging with the wider community in the area.

During the project we held regular meetings with our client and attended a BBEST annual general meeting where we had discussions and held a participation workshop with students from Sheffield’s High School. These activities helped to synthesise a series of issues and aspirations that influenced the project throughout, looking at both small and large scale.

Our aim was to avoid producing a manual with dry design guidelines. We achieved this by employing a graphical style that is engaging and ’open to possibilities’ and avoids the cold realism of computer generated imagery. Also, by identifying existing architectural features and physical elements which form the character of the area; future designs extensions and proposals could be more sensitive to their context.

In other parts of the design guide we made proposals and ’What if?’ scenarios. Some of the proposals are simple gestures, while others require long term planning and were more orientated towards prompting dialogue. We also surveyed large parts of the area and made proposals on how cycling routes could be improved, how to activate and link green spaces and produced drawings showing ‘hidden paths and ginnels’. These proposals aim to ameliorate the experience of heavy traffic for pedestrians and cyclers, while making travelling more pleasant.

In the case of the retail district our analysis of the existing shopping street will inform the design guide principles which will ensure future sensitivity of shop front design and avoid street clutter. The material choices, scale and style of shop facades within the retail centre needs to be appropriate for the future identity of Broomhill. In addition, proposals demonstrate how the main retail center could be improved and extended.

The Broomhill Futures project is ongoing. Our designs form only the first six weeks of a two year program. Our evidence base and suggestions will help promote discussion as the group moves towards finalising the Neighbourhood Plan.