Austen Associates were commissioned by Bray Town Council to advise on the selection of street trees and street furniture for the upgrade to the Bray Main Street pedestrian environment.
Design principles included keeping the streetscape ordered and clutter free by following a unified design approach such that pedestrians will be able to navigate along the street with ease and also that visibility of trading units is maximised where possible.
The paving on the street has been widened significantly and granite paving with a limestone band running through it selected to add a new high quality to the street finish. To complement this treatment Austen Associates selected beautiful Field Maple trees, Acer campestre ‘Elsrijk’, a variety widely used in Europe as a street tree. This is a hardy tree with an upright habit and dense crown. It tolerates the levels of pollution associated with an urban situation and copes well with a paved street.
The Bray scheme presented some considerable obstacles to developing a fully worked up street tree scheme, namely: the extensive band of granite rock at the southern end of the scheme ruling out the planting of any trees, significant services below ground level restricting planting space and the positioning of side roads, access points, position of shop entrances etc. all limiting the potential for trees. The Austen Associates plan included for 22 trees, 14 of which have been planted.
The practice also advised on the selection of hanging basket fittings, the installation of the automatic irrigation system and the selection of “lean-to” resting places rather than bulky bench seating.