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23rd Sep, 2021

Plea for people's ideas as project is launched to transform Droitwich underpasses into works of art

UNDERPASSES throughout Droitwich Spa are set to be turned into works of public art as part of a community project being officially launched today.

The scheme, led by Wychavon District Council, will see seven of the town’s passageways decorated with murals designed and installed by professional artists but based on residents’ ideas.

Other improvements, including upgrading the lighting, will also be carried out at the same time.

A public consultation is now under way to gather views and ideas from local people about what they would like to see depicted in the art.

The underpasses chosen for the project are under the A38 at Westlands, leading to King George V playing fields, Briar Mill, Crofters Hill, Hunters Way, Ombersley Way, Paddock Hill and by Droitwich Spa Railway Station. They have been chosen because they are generally in poor condition and part of key walking and cycling routes.

Wychavon is leading and part funding the project with money also coming from Droitwich Spa Town Council and the Government’s Welcome Back Fund, which is paid for by the European Regional Development Fund. Worcestershire County Council is also supporting the project.

A community committee is helping to guide the project and make sure the views and needs of local people are fully considered. Those involved include Droitwich Arts Network, Westlands Residents Group, Droitwich Action For Future Youth, Droitwich Spa Youth Council, Droitwich Spa High School, Platform Housing Group, Droitwich Standard and West Mercia Police.

As well as creating beautiful pieces of public art for everyone to enjoy, the project will improve the condition of the underpasses, help reduce issues around vandalism and anti-social behaviour and make people feel more comfortable using them.

The consultation runs until mid-August with work set to start on creating the murals in the autumn and running until spring 2022.

Coun Chris Day, Wychavon District Council’s executive board member for housing, health and wellbeing, said: “This is an exciting project that is part of our commitment to investing in our communities.

“I really look forward to seeing what ideas people come up with and how that is turned into beautiful works of art, so please get involved in the consultation.”

Droitwich Town Council leader and Wychavon vice-chairman Coun Alex Sinton added: “It is wonderful to see how this innovative project has brought members of our community together in order to improve the aesthetic appeal of the underpasses.

“I look forward to seeing the development and completion of the murals in the coming months.”

Sarah Page, youth co-ordinator for Droitwich Action For Future Youth, said: “The underpass project is a fantastic opportunity for the all of the community.

“Being able to create exuberant, exciting artwork in the underpasses from the visions and enthusiasm of the young people, will have a positive impact on the community as a whole, changing tiresome walkways into inviting, interesting areas.”

Pip Cavilla, the families and safeguarding deputy lead at Westlands First School and Nursery, said: “We are really excited about being part of the underpass project where pupils will be able to get involved in something within their local community.

“They will be able to see their creative ideas come alive through the artwork and revisit this when they walk through the underpasses.”

Visit www.droitwich-underpass.art to find out more and put forward ideas.

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