OPEN was commissioned by City & Country to develop landscape proposals for the former Shepton Mallet prison. These supported a masterplan that proposed a change in use to a residential with community facilities included. The original listed buildings are to be converted and supplemented with new residential blocks and mews terraces.
The former Shepton Mallet Prison is located to the east of the town centre within the Shepton Mallet Conservation Area boundary. The site is set within a combination of residential areas to the west and north, and open space to the east. The main site is well defined being enclosed by the existing prison wall. However, the former workshop building sits outside the walls to the south, divided from main site by Gaol Lane. The streets, lanes and routes around the prison are typically tight and narrow, and are clearly defined by walls and building frontages. The walls and buildings at the former Shepton Mallet Prison are protected through various listings.
The public realm and landscape proposals draw inspiration from the character of the adjacent urban streets, routes, lanes and spaces, creating an intimate public realm setting for the existing and proposed buildings within the former Shepton Mallet Prison site while respecting the scale and architectural qualities of the existing prison buildings and walls. While there is a requirement to allow some vehicle access, the treatment of these routes and spaces will be focussed on providing a comfortable and enticing pedestrian environment. These spaces and routes will facilitate public access in some areas of the site, while other areas will be more private and softer in character. Public access will be enhanced through the introduction of openings within the existing perimeter wall, specifically at the south west corner and by utilising the existing gatehouse on Cornhill, facilitating more direct links between the site adjacent areas including to the town centre.