Reinventing Dover's Market Square
Dover has a new-look Market Square following a £3.6m programme of public realm improvements to create a modern and welcoming focal point.
The centrepiece of the new-look Market Square is a unique walk-through water feature. Four striking steel rings incorporate a misting feature creating a fun space for children to play and for everyone to cool-off this summer!
Improved seating, a raised terrace and a feature lighting display provide space to host events and for people to meet throughout the day and into the evening whilst taking in skyline views of Dover Castle.
Wide paved areas have been designed so that cafes and pubs can offer alfresco dining, whilst new trees to be planted this autumn will provide shade and bring colour and textures to the Market Square throughout the year.
A public celebration and grand opening took place on Saturday, 20 August.
The original idea for the improvements to the Market Square came from the Dover Town Team which represents town centre traders. Supported by Dover District Council and Dover Town Council, the Team submitted a £2.44m bid to the government’s Coastal Communities Fund (CCF). The Fund supports economic development projects in coastal areas across the UK.
The works were supported by Kent County Council as the highways authority and undertaken by Kent-based, FM Conway Limited.
About the Market Square project
Dover District Council managed the £3.6m project on behalf of the Dover Town Team to improve the Market Square. The project is funded by a grant of £2.44m from the Coastal Communities Fund and a £1.2m contribution from Dover District Council. Dover Town Council has also contributed to the project.
The aim of the project was to attract more people to visit and shop in Dover by making the Market Square more welcoming and creating a focal point for visitors to the town centre.
Key design features
A paved space for performance where pedestrians can gather and interact, socialise and take in the views out of the Square. To make the square feel safe part of the square has been raised onto a platform to enable the public to sit comfortably above the traffic to Cannon Street and King Street and take on the views around the square.
A misting feature located in the centre of the square provides an ornamental feature that enlivens the space, but also creates a focus for children to play and families to congregate. The feature acts as a wayfinder that will be unique and recognisable to Dover.
Opportunities to sit have been increased with the introduction of more seats and terraced areas, where people can congregate. Around the Square pedestrian footways are widened next to the buildings to enable open air dining associated with the many businesses cafes and pubs.
On the eastern side of the square a line of planting has been added to introduce greening. This provides some shelter and importantly a variety of colour and textures throughout the year.
On King Street the carriageway width has reduced, and parking bays have been removed meaning areas for pedestrians has significantly increased. Loading bays have been incorporated in a manner that integrates them into the footway, ensuring pedestrians use them outside loading times. The result is that King Street changes from a road dominated thoroughfare to a pedestrian friendly public realm.
The feature lighting is designed to provide a memorable landmark to the square that gives it different feel at night time.