A long-term vision for a tourist destination
Framing critical sustainability and infrastructure issues as part of a statement of intent for a long-term vision to transform Newquay town centre to be accessible, inclusive, sustainable and resilient.
Commissioned in early 2022 by Newquay Town Council and Newquay Town Team, we were part of a consultancy team to deliver a place-based approach to town centre renewal, recovery and regeneration for this well-known Cornish destination.
The creation of the Newquay Town Centre Development Framework (NTCDF) sets out a strategy to revitalise the town centre. It includes a vision drawn from community and stakeholder inputs, a spatial framework for how the vision can be delivered and an investment plan to support the delivery.
Strategic importance of Newquay
A resident population of 24,800 swells in summer to over 100,000, with pre-Covid statistics revealing that there were 366,000 staying visitors in 2017 and 622,000 day visits. The town is defined by its coastline on the exposed north coast of Cornwall with world class beaches, dramatic clifftops and recognition as the ‘surf capital’ of the UK.
The delivery of a comprehensive town centre development framework is the result of a collaboration between the town council, town team, Cornwall Council and local businesses, stakeholders and community. A consultancy team, led by urban designers and planners, Prior + Partners, and including ourselves alongside economic development and mobility specialists provided the expert support to shape the consultation process, the findings and the recommendations.
On publication of the report, the team behind the NTCDF said: “The framework identifies the interventions that have real power to drive change and unlock opportunity.
“We want to become the epicentre of a distinct and inclusive lifestyle offer linked to wellbeing and culture. This means building a year-round economy with an attractive everyday town centre that works for businesses, locals and attracts visitors, all year round.”
Applying sustainable engineering principles to the framework and opportunity sites
As part of the delivery team, we specifically advised on sustainability, shoreline management and utility infrastructure to maximise the opportunities identified within the NTCDF.
Against a backdrop of site development opportunities and public realm improvements, we developed a sustainability framework for Newquay Town Centre. This highlighted seven objectives:
- How to be resilient to known and predicted impacts of climate change
- Achieving net zero by 2050
- Improve the health and wellbeing of the town’s residents
- Prioritise circular economy principles and sustainable waste management practices
- Encourage sustainable travel behaviour and a modal shift
- Integrate nature and biodiversity enhancements within the urban environment
- Deliver high quality, sustainable neighbourhoods
For each of these we explored key challenges and opportunities under each objective, the relevant policies in the Newquay Neighbourhood Plan and interdependencies with other aspects of the framework to provide recommended actions for delivery.
Reflecting the prominence of the coastal cliffs that dominate the Newquay shoreline, we also advocated the development of a shoreline management strategy. This aims to address condition appraisals of the cliffs, a risk register for properties and infrastructure, a constraints plan, and the zonation of cliffs and beach areas in respect of their risk status.
Within the NTCDF, our team also contributed guidance on how to understand and secure appropriate utilities infrastructure to support future development projects. Our analysis focused on availability and constraints at the existing local primary substations and the potential to supply the grid from renewable sources. We also advised on how to support the electric vehicle charging strategy detailed within the Mobility Framework, and the potential to establish micro grids to support future developments and reduce the demand on the grid.
The Newquay Town Team publicly launched the development framework and have begun to explore how to engage stakeholders and push forward with initiatives outlined in the document.
Commenting on the 2050 vision for Newquay, the team said: “We need to be proactive to diversify the town centre, providing more spaces for coming together, living, working and playing. It means creating affordable places to live, so we don’t lose the talent of our younger generation.”