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In early 2006, GGP met with officers and Council stakeholders to identify the objectives of the Town Centre Gardens redevelopment project.

Future aspirations

During July 2006, GHP carried out a Perception AREA: Snapshot exercise to capture the immediate perceptions of Town Centre Gardens’ users, residents, and town centre users. 

A temporary structure, representing a scaled copy of one of the Brent Court flats (an adjacent residential flat block), was installed within the Town Centre Gardens.

The “Living Room” concept was successful in engaging the community.

The “Living Room” concept

It attracted attention and interest, and provided an informal platform from which to seek public feedback.

The relaxed feel of the consultation elicited more comprehensive views than a traditional consultation would have been able to achieve.

Later that autumn, the team continued to work with key community groups and committed individuals identified during the Snapshot exercise, including representatives of:

  • young people;
  • young mothers;
  • local residents; and
  • town centre users.

Through the arts led workshops, these groups were taken through ‘placemaking’. In total, 50 people attended these workshops, participating in an ongoing dialogue about perceptions and current, and potential future use of the Gardens. These groups played an integral role in shaping the resulting masterplan.

Young people gather to talk about the future of the Town Centre Gardens

Following the development of the masterplan, the team went on to meet with representatives from the voluntary sector in order to create links with existing groups, such as North Herts College, that could also benefit from improved provision at the Town Centre Gardens.