New vision for St Paul's
VISIONS to turn St Paul's into a pedestrian paradise have been created by an artist.
Scott Farlow believes he can transform the Cheltenham area into a self-sufficient and crime-free location.
And he would like to see the number of cars across the ward being cut.
He is now working with landscape artist students at the University of Gloucestershire to help turn his dream into a reality.
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Scott, who is based in Bristol, who helped draw up the ideas to improve St Paul's, has returned to start up a new community project alongside the students and residents.
He hopes it will bring people together, and move the ward one step closer to its vision.
The project will focus on the idea of shared space in the area, focusing on Marle Hill Parade.
Scott said: "One of the things we – St Paul's Residents Association (SPRA), the residents, and myself – have always been interested in, is in giving more priority to people and pedestrians, to look at ways of populating the streets with people, and find more of a balance between cars and traffic, the idea of 'living streets'.
"That's quite a strong theme that runs throughout SPRA's vision.
"The Marle Hill Parade project is an opportunity for me to work with a group of students, to collaborate with SPRA, to look at options for reorganising street patterns, and to challenge conventional thinking."
Starting on January 18, Scott will run a 12-week course from the University of Gloucestershire's Francis Close Hall campus.
He will work with landscape students and St Paul's residents to find out what they want, how changing how public spaces are used can improve residents' experiences, and how to action those changes.
Then, to illustrate the impact of people power, he, in partnership with SPRA, will hold a car-free day in Marle Hill Parade on April 26, as he marks the end of the course.
"St Paul's is a very rich neighbourhood," said Scott.
"Its history is forgotten, but it was home to artists, so it has a really creative root.
"I think you can see that in a lot of its hidden architecture in the streets, in the detailing.
"It's a place with huge character, both in terms of people, and as a place to live."
The ward has had "fairly long-running social issues," said Scott, and he wants to continue to "challenge misconceptions".
He said: "Obviously it has a high population of students, so it's very transitory.
"There's this strange disconnect between ownership of a place, and what we proactively do to be a community, and the relationship there."
Ward councillor for the area Jon Walklett (LD) said he would give his backing to the project.
But he said the key would be getting residents in St Paul's to back the scheme if it was to prove a success.
He added: "The important thing here is to get the community on board.
"If it's anything to do with brightening up the street scene in St Paul's then it has my full support."