Hillingdon Council, in collaboration with architects The Decorators, has replaced the old Hayes bandstand with a modern golden disc-shaped canopy – a reference tot he area’s historical association with vinyl records – which will act as a community space.
The canopy was created by The Whitewall Company, who have worked on a number of public art projects.
The underside of the canopy is designed to resemble the perforated pattern of a piano music roll, while the disc itself reflects Hayes’ musical history – The Old Vinyl Factory is a current regeneration project engaged in redeveloping the site of the former EMI Music factory, which at its peak employed 22,000 workers. The iconic Beatles album Sgt Pepper was pressed at the plant in Hayes in 1967. T
The opening of the canopy is part of the final phase of a two-year-long £6m project by Hillingdon Council, in partnership with Transport for London, to make Hayes town centre more attractive for shoppers and visitors, while delivering economic growth and employment opportunities.
The work also includes changes to the road layout and pavement upgrades in Coldharbour Lane, Station Road and Crown Close, aimed at improving traffic flow and making the area more accessible.
Hayes will also get new dedicated cycle lanes, more parking spaces, 30-minute free “stop and shop” parking and countdown timers on pedestrian crossings. LED street lights, furniture and trees have also improved the look and feel of the area.
The work is expected to be finished by the end of the summer.
In her speech at the opening event, Councillor Melvin (pictured right) said: “We should not overlook the historic role of Hayes as the place where significant inventions in telecommunications, sound recording, stereophonic sound, television and radar originated.
“The unique ‘gold disc’ celebrates the musical heritage of Hayes and is expected to become a much admired feature in the town centre.”
The council will also be investing £3m in improvements around the station in preparation for the arrival of Crossrail in December 2018, although recent reports suggest this may not be possible until 2019.
A boardwalk extension with be installed on Botwell Bridge, creating a cycle lane and an attractive walkway with open views of the Grand Union canal to the east.
Other public realm enhancements to the area are planned, including better pedestrian and transport access, new landscaping, lighting, signage and street furniture.
The subway connecting the station to Blyth Road will also be revitalised.
Cllr Douglas Mills, Cabinet Member for Community, Commerce and Regeneration (pictured left), said: “Over the past six years, the council has been, and continues to be committed to major investment in the borough’s town centres.
“Our current focus is making distinct and useful improvements in Hayes and Uxbridge. We want these town centres to be economically successful and our hope is that this work will revitalise their look, making them more attractive for shoppers and visitors.”