The recently completed £268,000 transformation of Swan Square into a contemporary plaza is a continuation of a major effort to revitalise the town centre of Burslem, Stoke-On-Trent. A major part of this involves upgrading the infrastructure of a number of public spaces throughout the area.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council wanted to redevelop Swan Square and create a new-look space which would tempt businesses to take over abandoned shops and buildings in the surrounding area. They also wanted to encourage more pedestrians to both move through the space and to use the square for a variety of functions including the market and performances from the nearby School of Art.
A design solution was chosen that created a level central plaza with distinctive curved south facing york stone terraces. The railings from the former toilet were re-used on new york stone plinths to provide screening from the adjacent busy road, along with new tree and shrub planting. This re-use provided an important historic reference for local residents.
As Swan Square is within a conservation area, high quality and durable materials, such as york stone and stainless steel street furniture were used. An innovative and sustainable concept was used for the central path through the site, with recycled bottle and window glass used as paving units. This was an important opportunity to introduce colour to the streetscene, reflecting the colourful ceramics that are the basis of the towns history. The curving shapes throughout the scheme reflected the ‘Swan’ in the squares title which has a long history and was referred to as ‘Duck Square’ in Arnold Bennetts historic novel, Clayhanger based in Burslem.