The first two winners in the architecture competition devised by regeneration agency Elevate to create six public squares in East Lancashire towns have been selected.
Manchester-based Landscape Projects will design a new square for Accrington based on its identity as a floral market town. Landscape Projects' emerging ideas include tree planting, seating and a dramatic cast iron curve telling the story of the town. A flexible open space alongside the market hall and town hall will be complemented by lighting of key buildings.
A team made up of London-based Civic Architects and Newcastle's Colour: Urban Design triumphed in Burnley.
The pair proposes "a terrace of different sizes that can be used at different scales: an incidental rest on the way home; day-to-day use of the rejuvenated Neptune Inn; or large, programmed events like Burnley's annual Jazz Festival". The Neptune Inn will be refurbished.
Chair of the judging panel, Stirling Prize-winning architect Stephen Hodder, said: "We were seeking something of truly international quality and the winning proposal for Accrington by Landscape Projects is exactly that. It is a scheme which respects the quality and setting of the town hall and the market but at the same time addresses the quite different qualities of Peel Street. The completed square will be something that the people of Accrington can be truly proud of.
"Civic Architects' design for Burnley is equally inspirational. It is an intelligent scheme whose integrity will remain as the Weavers' Triangle is regenerated. It is a scheme which responds to the particular character of the site and as such it will be unique and belong to Burnley."
Neil Swanson from Landscape Projects said: "We're made up – we can't wait to get going. For us Accrington is a fine town, one of the jewels of Pennine Lancashire, which needs a proper public place at its heart… a place for meeting, for markets, celebrations and events. It was great to meet with local people to discuss their ideas for the new square. We hope we've done them justice. It's a real privilege to be selected, and we're really excited at the prospect of taking our ideas further…and preparing Accy to make the best of the up-turn, when it comes."
Winners for the four other Pennine Lancashire towns – Blackburn, Bacup, Clitheroe and Nelson – are being selected by four judging panels, all headed by Stephen Hodder.
The other four practices which made the shortlist for Accrington were Austin-Smith: Lord, McChesney Architects, Balmori + S333, and Taylor Young Limited.
The three runners-up in Burnley were Camlin Lonsdale in association with Arca and Martin Stockley Associates, Kinnear Landscape Architects and Martin Stockley Associates, and LAND.
The Landscape Institute, the chartered body for landscape architects, is running the competition, with the support of the Royal Institute of British Architects.