Marlborough Meeting Point

2

October 19, 2012 by We Love Marlborough

We Love Marlborough has been working on an exciting and audacious new project for the centre of Marlborough. This is taken from a presentation:

Leisure

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see in broad day light,
Streams full of stars, lie skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
By William Henry Davies

When I was preparing this presentation, I was inspired by this poem written by WH Davies in 1911.

Compare it to Marlborough High Street. Does it say ‘stand and stare’ or ‘full of care’? Does it encourage us to ‘turn at Beauty’s’ heritage of the town? Or does it encourage us to rush in, do our shopping and leave?

Do we want our High Street to welcome people to stay, linger, enjoy or ‘please pass through’?

More and more Marlborough people – Transition Town, town centre planning group, Chamber of Commerce, Vision Marlborough, brand Marlborough – are considering how the town can be more attractive and friendly for local shopping and a tourist trade that lasts longer than a visit to Polly Tea Rooms.

Part of this is to lift the High Street from under the weight of cars and parking and allow our beautiful town to shine through, how to shift importance away from cars and towards pedestrians. After all, unless traffic is simply passing through, even those people in cars need to get out and walk.

At the moment there are just two public places to sit. Even a bench bought and paid for by the Community Area Transport Group and sitting in a Devizes depot has found no home. Despite the record breaking width of the High Street, the pavements are too narrow in places to stand and chat. And, apart from the library, there are no public noticeboards.

So We Love Marlborough are conducting an experiment. To create something new and exciting that will contribute to the history and heritage of the town and show what can be achieved with a little imagination and co-operation.

It would do the following:

  • Create a focal point in the middle of the High Street;
  • Provide a place to display community information.
  • Be a place where teenagers to tourists, men in flat caps to shoppers can meet up, watch the world go by, or find out what they can do at the weekend.

This beautiful and functional piece of public art would be created by an artist chosen by a panel of local people. It would have seating and possibly a bike rack.

And where it would sit requires a leap of faith, and is unashamedly inspired by Hamilton-Baillie and a new local resident (and new member of the We Love Marlborough committee).

We see it as sitting right in the central strip of parking, taking up two or tree spaces. It would have a special road texture from each pavement to function both as a courtesy crossing and to help it claim its space in the road.

All we need now is the support of the town council, local people and to raise the money…

So, what do you think?

This post is taken from a presentation due to be given to Marlborough town council on 5 November 2012.

It introduces the WLM project, the Marlborough Meeting Point.

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2 thoughts on “Marlborough Meeting Point

  1. pepita hurd says:

    BEST OF LUCK ON 5 NOV WITH THE TOWN COUNCIL. I THINK THAT WOULD BE A GREAT IDEA TO HAVE AN AREA IN THE CENTRE WHERE PEOPLE CAN SIT ALTHO THE TRAFFIC WD BE A BIT OF A DOWNER. HOW ABOUT UP HUGHENDEN YD OR DOWN ANGEL YARD

    PEPITA HURD

    • We Love Marlborough says:

      Hi Pepita,
      Thanks so much for your wishes for tonight, very much needed and appreciated. A part of the reason for the project is to begin to reclaim the High Street from the cars. It won’t just be plonked in the middle, it will have coloured or textured road surfacing that will act as a courtesy crossing and give the area its own space. That it’s different and pedestrians are wandering around will cause motorists to drive more courteously – there’s a lot of evidence to prove this. In fact a BBC2 TV programme looked at just this thing last Wednesday (How Safe Are Britain’s Roads? – see it on iPlayer). We so have our fingers on the pulse 😉 Does that make a High Street location more attractive?

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