We have been in the High Street for nearly 4 months and the Martingate experience seems a long time ago. The big change is the development of a retail space and to start selling new bikes. The shop still has a long way to go in terms of the decor, the stock and the workspace but this is what rainy Saturday afternoons are for, thinking about the Shop, thinking about cycling and thinking about how to encourage cycling……
One idea that is being discussed is to provide a new cycle lockup in Corsham in the form of a sculpture. This would be an art installation designed by a local artist, become a focal point for the town and help inspire and encourage cycling. The next 5 years will be interesting for Corsham, with several new housing developments being undertaken in the area which in turn will generate more traffic and increase the parking problems. Corsham needs better cycling facilities and cycling inspiration.
It all started when I was in a meeting with Wiltshire Council’s community officer who based in Corsham Community Campus where we were discussing how to encourage cycling in Corsham in the face of cuts to local bus services etc. There was no money on the table to implement safe cycling routes, there was some money for hiring bikes and possibly some money for new cycle lockups in town. The bike hire idea (a la Boris) was dropped as Corsham is not London or even Bath but the current cycle lockups in the town centre are sad and would benefit from a rethink.
As Corsham’s recent heritage is centred on the arts, an bike lockup that is also a sculpture came to mind. Sustrans off road routes contain many themed sculptures and it would be fun to hold a design competition to allow local people to submit their ideas. The best ones could be displayed in the Pound Arts and voted on with a suitable commission to follow. But putting a sculpture in the town would require planning in the first instance and a lot of support so I wrote to various town councillors, Transcoco, people who were formulating the neighbourhood plan and Sustrans and got positive responses from them all.
Sustrans are key to this because they have the expertise to deliver and are already doing projects in Bristol and Bridgewater. They have a community led street design project to help communities re-imagine and re-design their streets and public spaces so that they are safer and more attractive places to live in and travel through. Sustrans response was very positive and they could allocate resources to help bring this about. So lets put down some requirements for the new cycle lockups.
- They must provide an attractive focal point in the town and ‘fit’ into the space allocated
- They should be practical and cater for a range of different cycles
- The sculpture should be inspiring and be attractive.
- It could be a single installation or smaller multiple installations.
- The commissioning process should engage local people
I’ll be writing to the Town Council in due course and trying to get the project off the ground.