Raft of improvements for NE Hamilton outlined in new plan
Improved lighting, street art and green spaces will be encouraged in North East Hamilton as part of a draft plan for the area, now open for public consultation.
The draft plan also calls for the preservation of the region’s architectural history and highlighted Wantley, which is earmarked for demolition, but stopped short of proposing that it become a listed building.
The Draft North East Hamilton Plan, which is now out for public consultation, was intended to establish a framework for the Department of Planning to help determine future planning applications.
The plan said: “It is anticipated that, by adopting this approach, appropriate and balanced land use decisions can be made which contribute to the establishment of a dynamic and thriving local community.”
While the writers of the plan said improvements to the environment and infrastructure in the area would require “significant financial investment” that would be difficult to achieve through public funding alone.
“It is therefore imperative that greater responsibility be placed on developers to ensure that development adequately addresses its impacts, considers the wellbeing of the area and delivers real benefits to the community.
“However, this plan does not intend to place an undue burden on developers to such an extent as to discourage investment into North East Hamilton.
“As such, this plan recognises the importance of achieving an appropriate balance of encouraging sustainable development whilst ensuring that the area and the local community benefit from development.”
The plan divided the North Hamilton area in to seven districts, including Court Street, the historic Princess Street area, Uptown, North Street Corridor, Victoria Gardens, Parker’s Square and Union Square.
Development opportunities in each of the districts are highlighted, but any development proposed on existing public open spaces will be required to maintain and enhance the space, or provide alternative public open space “of at least equal size and community value” in North East Hamilton.
On Court Street, the plan proposed focuses on improving pedestrian access and enhancement of public spaces, specifically creating access to Gordon’s Green from Court Street and additional street furniture.
Meanwhile the plan urged that any development on Princess Street is “respectful of the character, appearance, form and layout” of the area.
A section of the draft plan reads: “The City of Hamilton has a rich architectural heritage and some of the best examples of residential, commercial and institutional architecture on the island which reflect the Island’s cultural, political and social history.
“North East Hamilton in particular contains such notable historic properties as Victoria Terrace and Wantley on Princess Street, Belvoir on Ewing Street and the former Pembroke Sunday School building on the corner of Angle Street and North Street.
“No listed buildings lie within North East Hamilton and this plan does not propose any such designations at this time, however a policy relating to listed buildings is included in this plan in case a building within the plan area becomes listed during the plan period.”
The plans proposed additional residential development in the Uptown Area that covers the majority of Ewing Street and Angle Street, along with improvements for residents of the district.
Suggestions included community art schemes along the Till’s Hill boundary walls and the creation of community gardens or public open spaces, along with improvements to the nearby Jubilee Park.
The plan also suggests improvements to parks in the North Street area and public art on empty walls in the district.
Proposals also included efforts to implement landscaping works to soften the appearance of the area and improvements for pedestrians.
The Victoria Gardens district was described as having a range of benefits, including access to Victoria Park, that could be better utilised as part of the wider North East Hamilton plan.
The plan said the nearby Parker’s Square district would need a “fundamental rethink of the design of buildings” to enjoy meaningful change, and that the impact of any future development in the area should be considered from a visual and social perspective.
Improved street lighting, encouragement for murals on blank walls – including the Elliot Street Car Park – and soft landscaping works were all suggested.
Better lighting was also suggested for the Union Square district, along with landscaping works and additional green spaces.
Public consultation for the plan opened yesterday and will continue until October 8.