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Queen Square regeneration

Queen Square regeneration

Queen Square is the largest Georgian residential square in England. In 1936 Bristol Corporation destroyed its architectural and spatial integrity with the creation of a dual carriageway across the Square. By 1991, 20,000 vehicles each day crossed the Square, creating both noise and pollution. The Square is completely surrounded by listed buildings, but these had been allowed to decline and by 1996 over 33% were vacant.

The scheme involved the removal of the dual carriageway across the square and the bus routes around it. The original 1817 design was reinstated, with gravel paths, timber post and rail fencing around the square; restoration and realignment of King William's statue (Grade 1 listed); new seating, lighting and tree planting, and the reduction of clutter and re-organisation of car parking around the square.

Location Bristol
Type of scheme Public space
Lead landscape architect Bristol City Council Landscape Design Team
Outline brief

To reclaim a major civic space from the dominance of traffic and restore it to its historic grandeur for the enjoyment of the whole community.

Client Bristol City Council Directorate of City development
Contract value £6 million
Completion date 2007
Project team

Project management: Davis Langdon, Bristol City Council

QS: Davis Langdon

Design: Bristol City Council Urban Design and Conservation, Engineering Consultancy and Landscape Design Teams; Niall Philips Architects

Historical research: Jane Root, Pat Hughes, Chris Heath

Specialist advice: Professor R.J.G Savage (Bristol University)

HLF Monitor: William Wheeler

Planning authority Bristol City Council
Funding Heritage Lottery Fund; Nat West Bank; Queen Square Association; English Heritage; Bristol City Council
Contact details
Awards Winner 2009 LI Awards Heritage and Conservation

Technical summary


Detailed historic research was essential to the whole project. The design of the central green space had changed significantly from its original 1699 form, so the 1817 design was selected as most appropriate and adaptable to the challenges of modern usage. The historical research also informed the materials used in the scheme, e.g. breedon gravel paths and post and rail perimeter fencing and drove the reinstatement of historic boundary treatments to the surrounding buildings.

The scheme involved major restoration works to the external areas of Queen Square, including widening the perimeter footways and repaving natural stone; resurfacing the roads in traditional granite setts, and reinstating the traditional boundary walls and railings to the listed buildings around the square.


A new concrete base with stone detailing was installed around the historic statue.

A perimeter oak post and rail fence was chosen for the site due to its presence in the historic Square according to images. Oak was also used for the bollards which marks the corner entrance.

Stone setts were used for the perimeter roads as per the tradition with reinstated brick boundary walls and stone detailing to frame the public realm.


Platanus Acerifoila used as a perimeter tree.

Other technical details

The most challenging aspect of the project was reclaiming space from vehicles. The scheme involved the removal of a road and the rerouting of buses, as well as protracted negotiations to relocate the parking from outside individual properties to around the central space, to enable the reinstatement of the boundary walls and forecourts.


C J Pearce


Ringway Highway Services Ltd

Blakedown Landscapes

E.R Hemmings Ltd

Category Parks and gardens
Keywords historic landscapes - public realm - residential areas - urban areas

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