Work will soon start on a mural in the heart of Atherstone

The painting will be based on images representing the town including the canal, church, a footballer and cyclist

The painting will be based on images representing the town including the canal, church, a footballer and cyclist
The painting will be based on images representing the town including the canal, church, a footballer and cyclist

Work will soon start on a mural in the heart of Atherstone which has been paid for by European money aimed at giving the town centre a lift.

The painting on the rear wall of the The Arcade will be based on images representing the town including the canal, church, a footballer and cyclist - councillors were shown an impression of what it could look like, reproduced in this article.

Sign up to our daily WarwickshireWorld Today newsletter

Gary Chamberlain, of the Atherstone Partnership, told Monday's planning board meeting of North Warwickshire Borough Council: “The project is being funded through the Welcome Back Fund which is an allocation of European funding to improve the look and feel of the high street and make them welcoming to boost the visitor economy.

“The wall of The Arcade provides an ideal canvas for such a mural and, being at the transport gateway of the town, meets the objectives of enhancing the public realm.

“Discussions have been held with the artist who has managed to alter their existing work commitments to enable this project to be delivered within the required timeframe - but only just - and I would urge you to look positively at the proposal and allow local people to be given something they can be proud of.

“We are extremely confident the mural can showcase all that is good about the town and create a feeling of pride and ownership.”

Asked about the likelihood of the mural being daubed with graffiti, Mr Chamberlain said the artist - who had completed projects in Nuneaton and Tamworth - hoped to involve local children.

He added: “We are hoping to invite all the schools down at set times to join the artist who will talk through what's involved in it. If you create an ownership and belonging around something like this then people tend to respect it a lot more.”

Cllr Neil Dirveiks (Lab, Atherstone Central) said: “It is a very subjective thing - some people will think how on earth has that been allowed to happen but it will generate a lot of interest and a lot of people will say it is a big improvement.

“It will certainly grab people’s attention when they arrive in the town by public transport. At the moment it is a little bit featureless and boring.”

And Cllr Colin Hayfield (Con, Coleshill South) added: “Nether Whitacre village hall has a much smaller but similar collage of local scenes woven together and it actually works surprisingly well. It is still a talking point among villagers and these things can work.”

Temporary consent was granted for five years after which time the wall will be restored to its former condition.