Test Valley Borough Council is set to embark on a project to improve signage for businesses located along the seven small lanes off the High Street.
The project has been progressed on the back of the Andover Summit and will see seven distinct arches created to signpost the public to the shops in Black Swan Yard, George Yard, Waterloo Court, Union Street, Shaw’s Walk, Globe Yard and King’s Yard.
Renowned artist, Peter Clutterbuck, has been commissioned to create the striking wrought iron arches. Peter’s previous work includes the War Memorial Park gate and town entrance sign in Hedge End, the bandstand in Southsea and Falklands memorial arch in Fareham, as well as a wide range of other projects.
Councillor Ian Carr, leader of Test Valley Borough Council, said: “Our work as part of the Andover Summit has always been focused on improving the town for residents, visitors and businesses. Our discussions around how best to improve and enhance the town highlighted how difficult it is for businesses located just off the High Street to promote their shops and let people know they’re there.
“We wanted to create something that would catch people’s eyes and encourage them to wander down the lanes and explore the great range of shops just a few steps away. This led us to explore whether an artistic approach might provide the answer, which is why we put out a tender asking artists to put forward their proposals for a solution.”
The proposals were reviewed by a commissioning panel, which included representatives from the borough and town council, two retailers from the lanes also representing the Town Centre Partnership and a local art expert.
The commissioning panel was impressed by Peter’s approach to highlighting the individual ‘personalities’ of each of the lanes with impressive designs which also complement the town’s character and heritage. The arches will feature signs that will be able to be replaced as businesses move in and out of the shop units.
Artist Peter Clutterbuck said: “It’s a real privilege to be given the opportunity to create the arches as we genuinely believe in the work we do. I hope the designs speak for themselves and will enhance the character of the lanes and encourage shoppers to visit the businesses located off the High Street. We are really excited about starting work to create the arches and look forward to seeing them in place once complete.”
The Council will be progressing delivery of the arches one at a time, as each will require a significant amount of work due to the permissions required to fix the arches to listed and other historic buildings located in the town centre conservation area.
Councillor Carr added: “We have been developing this project for the best part of a year and delivering it certainly won’t be a five minute job as some of the buildings we would like to attach the arches to are listed, which creates a number of challenges. However, although this project will take time to deliver, we hope it will offer a permanent and effective signposting solution for businesses located off the High Street.”
Further information about the project will be released over the coming months.