Droitwich underpasses to become works of art

Underpasses in parts of Droitwich Spa are to be turned into works of public art as part of a community project being led by Wychavon.

The Droitwich Spa Underpass Art Project will see seven of the passageways decorated with murals designed and installed by professional artists but based on ideas from residents. Other improvements, including upgrading the lighting, will also be carried out at the same time.

A public consultation is now underway to gather views and ideas from local people which can be submitted by visiting www.droitwich-underpass.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 funded through 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.

Cllr Chris Day, Executive Board Member for Housing, Health and Wellbeing on Wychavon District Council, 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."

Cllr Alex Sinton, Leader of Droitwich Spa Town Council and Vice Chairman of Wychavon District Council, said: "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 Coordinator 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, 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." 

Cllr George Duffy, Droitwich Spa Town Council and Wychavon District Council, Alan Davey, member of Droitwich Arts Network, and Lyn Libetta, from Westlands Residents’ Association in front of the underpass under the A38 which is one of those set to be transformed into a public work of art.
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