Dorset Coastal Connections – People & Places West Bay Artist Brief
An exciting opportunity for an artist/urban designer to work as part of an engineering team and other regeneration developments in West Bay, Dorset, UK.
Dorset Coast Forum (DCF) are looking to appoint a Consultant Artist / Urban Designer for concept development and detailed design on three exciting projects in West Bay, Dorset. The project recognises the importance of the artist, who will have a creative and innovative input, whilst being sensitive to the surrounding environment and helping to ensure an exceptional quality of design. This is reflected in our aspiration to bring in an artist at the start of the project and to enable them to work as part of the cross-disciplinary team who will deliver the project. This is a high profile development for Dorset and is likely to attract local media attention as well as much public interest. These projects are part of the wider ‘Dorset Coastal Connections’ portfolio of 18 projects funded by the Coastal Community Fund and coordinated by the Dorset Coast Forum who are working collaboratively with The Arts Development Company and the individual project teams.
The Environment Context
West Bay is on the South West Coast Path National Trail (www.southwestcoastpath.com) providing a key means for accessing a popular part of the Jurassic Coast, England’s first Natural World Heritage Site (www.jurassiccoast.org). Is also in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (www.dorsetaonb.org.uk) and so the design needs to be sensitive to the area as a whole.
The heart of West Bay has a vibrant mix of building types and uses including shops, pubs, churches, cafes and kiosks, as well as flats and houses. Much activity is related to the harbour itself – the commercial fishing, boat repair and tourists enjoying the ambience. In the summer, and on sunny days, West Bay is busy with holidaymakers, motorcyclists and local residents. However outside the core area there are some areas where the character and level of activity is quieter, with the variety of building types and uses is much more limited. West of the harbour the land is predominantly in residential use, and a large area used by the static caravan park. The caravan park and its links through the Shipyard Centre to West Beach are relatively busy during the holiday season, but outside this period activity is low. East of the harbour, the mix of uses and activity extends out along West Bay Road and George Street, up to the West Bay Road car park which is a largely laid to tarmac, but broken up by some landscaping. Again, the car park and its links through to East Beach are relatively busy during the holiday season, but outside this season it returns to low activity levels.
The Projects and Partners
This area sits in the heart of West Bay and is utilised heavily by visitors, motorcyclists and residents. It needs to be a mixed use space which makes sense, so that the motorcyclists are continued to be welcomed and utilise this area, where visitors can enjoy fish and chips, looking at the views and for residents to have a beautiful space to enjoy. Currently there are concrete blocks here, which could be removed, giving more scope for the design.
The Jurassic Coast Trust is the lead project delivery organisation for the West Bay Welcome Hub. They will be working alongside the appointed artist, Dorset County Council, Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Bridport Town Council.
East Beach Accessibility and West Beach Promenade
East Beach is a single barrier beach managed by the Environment Agency. There are times when the front face of the beach is too steep for safe access by the public and there is a preferred route onto the foreshore next to the steeply rising East Cliff. This project could include a viewing platform and will provide a defined access route from the car park to the sea, in the form of a permanent boardwalk-type structure to a viewing platform at the crest of the beach, with a temporary form of access over the front face of the beach which will have to be graded to a suitable angle for safe access and directing users away from under the cliffs. This work will be completed as part of the coastal improvement scheme for East Beach which includes a buried rock core under the crest of the beach.
The environment agency is the lead project delivery organisation and will work with consultants CH2M, West Dorset District Council and the appointed artist. This is for the Viewing platform, boardwalk and the West Beach promenade.
Cycle Path from West Bay to Bridport
This scheme aims to provide non-car users with a safe, traffic-free route between West Bay and Bridport’s existing walking and cycling network. This new link will consist of new road crossings and a new section of footway whilst the existing bridleway and footways will be widened and resurfaced for shared-use. This section of cycleway will become part of a wider walking and cycling network that will eventually connect these settlements to Maiden Newton as part of the West Dorset Trailway. It is possible to have implementation here such as seating. We would welcome views from the consultant artist, who may have thoughts about opening up the views, shaping the footpath.
N.B. The Bridport Area Development Trust also received coastal community funding and are to restore the Methodist chapel into the West Bay Discovery Centre. Whilst the development is not part of this scheme, we need to be mindful of it in terms of navigating the visitor. This could be done by sightlines or other creative means.
July 2017 Community Consultation
The Dorset Coast Forum with its project partners hosted a consultation event over two days at the Salt House, West Bay. These drop-in sessions allowed the community to find out more about the four Coastal Community Fund projects in West Bay as well as comment and make suggestions. DCF staff and project team members attended the event to answer any questions and encourage feedback. These events took place on Tuesday 4th July 11am – 5.30pm and Sunday 9th July 12pm – 4pm. The sessions were attended visitors, residents, motorcyclists and park home owners; in total 96 people attended on the Tuesday and 83 attended on the Sunday.