What happens next?
For 2014/15 and beyond there are a number of challenges to be addressed if the Ancient Market is to fulfil its potential as a successful destination at the hub of Kingston’s historic town centre core. The main challenges are as follows:
- the Market House – ensuring that the Grade 2* listed building is repaired and maintained to a high standard. We also need to identify the best long term solution for the Market House as an important heritage asset for Kingston town centre. Finally, we need to ensure that future uses for the Market House generate activity and drive footfall in a way which will reinforce trade at the Ancient Market, particularly for the new stalls which will directly face the Market House
- connections to the riverside – the Ancient Market Enhancement Area includes seven medieval alleyways providing links between the river and (from north to south) Thames Street, Market Place and High Street. Although the historical layout of these alleyways has some attractions and real potential, the existing quality of the public realm is extremely poor
- Kingston Riverside programme – we are currently seeking to bring forward a range of public realm improvements between Town End Pier and Canbury Gardens. We need to explore the scope for joined up thinking between the Kingston Riverside programme and the connections to the riverside envisaged as part of the Ancient Market phase 2 work
- connections to Eden Quarter (and beyond) – Memorial Gardens require additional investment, both to create a public space more in keeping with the beautiful setting and to establish a pedestrian link between the Ancient Market and Eden Walk
- connections to Clarence Street – there are already strong links along Church Street and Thames Street to the main retail core on Clarence Street. However, we also need to improve the connections and legibility through the grounds of All Saints Church
- cultural connections – we need to make the most of the potential for the Ancient Market to reinforce the emerging vision for culture in Kingston