An exciting project that will involve artists in reshaping the ‘gateways’ to Torbay's town centres, with flexible, inspiring public spaces and high quality, pedestrian-focused, street design.


Town centre regeneration is one of Torbay Council's highest priorities. There is a need to invest in and improve the physical fabric of the town centres of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham. Revitalising urban and natural spaces and re-connecting town centres with the coast are key elements of local masterplans. 

High quality public space is important to the function and success of each town, to improving perceptions of town centres and increasing pride in our local area. It is also a significant factor in securing further investment in the area.


The initial scope of this project is the delivery of two schemes, from design stage to completion: Station Square, Paignton and The Strand, Torquay. In each location, the project will deliver:

  • High quality town centre schemes, developed and delivered in accordance with RIBA Stage processes
  • Stakeholder consultation activity
  • Creative public engagement activity
  • Designs and drawings, commissioned from a design team that includes a lead artist
  • Artistic commissions which integrate into the schemes.

Under-exploited cultural assets have a critical part to play in the regeneration of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham. In 2010, a project called 'Torbay Connected' was delivered by Torbay Council and partners to investigate how artists could be involved in the development of urban public spaces and we are building on this learning to integrate culture into the latest schemes. Cultural practitioners can challenge people's perceptions of their towns and of Torbay as a whole, and can re-engage communities with their unique heritage and coastline.

Paignton Town Square

The scheme forms an important first phase of public realm improvements focused around the railway station area, the junction of Victoria Street and Torbay Road. In addition to the general outputs and outcomes listed above, this scheme will deliver the following:

  • A shared ‘gathering place’ for residents and visitors at this crucial arrival point in the town;
  • Better links between Paignton Station square, the town centre, heritage and cultural sites (Winner Street, Palace Theatre, Paignton Picture House) and sea front
  • A catalyst for change in the station area, including the restoration of Paignton Picture House and a potential new civic hub around the library, bus and train stations (including rail station refurbishment) and
  • Support for investment in other regeneration projects, including the Victoria Centre and Crossways.

The Strand, Torquay

This scheme will reconnect Torquay town centre with its harbour, creating a new, flexible urban space that will be the heart of the town. It forms the first phase of a larger public realm improvement scheme that will include Cary Parade, Fleet Street and the Clock Tower/Torwood Street/Victoria Parade. The improvements will complement the work previously undertaken around Torquay Harbour in 2006.

In addition to the general outputs and outcomes listed above, this scheme will deliver the following:

  • A promenade and square at The Strand, with new seating, planting, lighting and cafés
  • Better vehicle and pedestrian access with a new bus interchange and simplified road crossings
  • Making the most of the view of the harbour by removing buses from the Strand and enabling businesses to capitalise on this unique space
  • The creation of Torquay Harbour as a destination in itself
  • Support for investment in Harbour View, Princess Gardens and the Harbour Hotel schemes and other regeneration projects.

The anticipated outcomes include:

  • Increased vitality, spend and footfall in the town centre, boosting businesses and the economy
  • Further investment in Torbay, its town centres and in cultural interventions
  • Increased awareness of the heritage of the local area for residents and visitors, attracting additional visitors to the area
  • Clearer sense of positive local identity and increased sense of pride amongst local people
  • Added momentum to delivery of town centre regeneration, increasing market confidence and levering in private sector investment
  • Higher profile for local arts and cultural practitioners and greater sense of cultural value at strategic and grassroots level.

TDA is leading this project on behalf of Torbay Council. Torbay Culture is working with TDA and the Council to ensure that scheme designers, creative practitioners, local people and local organisations are involved in a creative, meaningful, engaging design period and artistic/heritage interventions are integrated throughout the final schemes. Ginkgo Projects were appointed in March 2018 as the Lead Artist within the design team.

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This Town Centre Development project is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, as part of Torbay's Great Place Scheme.


A design team, including an embedded artist, was appointed in March 2018 to deliver public engagement, modelling and detailed designs. This work will begin in April.

“Culture is no longer being seen as an add-on, it’s integral to many of our key projects, from the creation of new public space to improving how we move around the Bay.”

– Jim Blackwell, Spatial Planning, Torbay Council