Bitterne Precinct Improvements
Bitterne Precinct Improvements
bitterne precinct design map
The works to resurface Bitterne Precinct, which is being undertaken in three sections or phases, is now over half way. We expect to complete all the major works around the end of April (weather permitting).
Work in phase 1 is nearing completion. The new surface is down and the imprinting process should be virtually complete in another week. There are a few more things to do, Southern Electric are replacing two electrical junction boxes that were built into the old planters, you might have noticed two odd bits of wall left curiously standing. Southern Electric are aiming to do this in mid March. The second and most dramatic thing is to apply colour to the new surface. This can only be done when the average air temperature is warm enough and we hope this can start in the second half of March. Lastly, there are the new trees to plant. A variety of hardy species are being used that can withstand prolonged dry spells and do not mind salt from gritting in the winter.
Work is well underway in the centre section, drainage and surface water channels have been laid, tree pits are being dug, foundations levelled and a base course of surface laid. The areas of retained block paving will be finished off and the top surface will be laid in one go through the centre before opening it up to the public. Work will then move to surfacing up to the shop fronts. Access to shops will be maintained and work across entrances will be undertaken out of hours. After the base course is laid in front of all the businesses, the top surface will be laid overnight. Imprinting of this area will start in mid-March. The majority of work in phase 2 is planned for completion by early April. Again colouring the imprinted surface and installing the new trees will happen last.
Work in phase 3 will be more straight forward, replacing paving with the imprinted surface up to the shop fronts just past the circular area. The majority of the block paving in this area including the play area will remain unchanged. There will be some work to improve drainage and work is planned for completion around the end of April (weather permitting) with the imprinting and colouring of the new surface.
Please bear with us while we complete this important work, a vital part of addressing the high number of trips and falls. The changes are opening up the precinct and this should help to address some of the reported antisocial behaviour. The improvements will also provide a more durable surface for the markets and events.
These planned time frames are approximations and are weather permitting.
Frequently asked questions
Will the shops remain open whilst the work is being carried out?
Yes. Access to all the shops will be maintained throughout and we plan to carry out work in front of doorways outside of opening hours.
What are the site working hours?
Work on site will normally be carried out between 7:30am and 4:30pm Monday - Friday and 8am and 12.30pm on Saturdays. There may be times when we are waiting for materials or third party services and work in an area may have little or no activity for a period. In the new year these hours may be extended into the early evening in order to carry out the work in front of the shop doorways.
Are some of the planters and trees being removed?
The Bitterne improvement scheme does include the removal of many of the planters and that has to include the trees within them, however the trees are being replaced with new trees at ground level as agreed with the council’s trees officer. This does not affect any of the more mature trees that are already planted at ground level.
The planters are being removed for a number of reasons, many are deteriorating, they have become overgrown and are now dividing the precinct, children climb on them and have fallen and been seriously injured. They are also a source of antisocial behaviour with groups of teenagers and adult drinkers using them to gather out of sight of the CCTV and we have numerous reports from retailers about abuse and intimidation of their staff and shoppers from these groups.
When we carried out a survey of businesses and shoppers the majority were in favour of the planter removal and some said it was long overdue. Their removal will open out the space, improving the shopping experience, deter groups from gathering and the new line of trees will give the precinct the feel of a boulevard. The space will be much better for the market and events.
Who is funding this work?
Southampton City Council are funding the improvement works for Bitterne Precinct.
How can I find out more information?