Public art scheme to be launched in Macclesfield

Waters green 2016A significant public arts project will be launched in Macclesfield on Monday (December 19), which has completely regenerated an area once known as a crime hot spot.

The ‘Waters’ project, based in the Waters Green underpass and Middlewood Way area of the town, has seen a complete overhaul of an undesirable area to become a warm, welcoming location, which is now a lighter and more attractive environment for the public.

The event on Monday is the culmination of a year-long effort, which has seen this part of Macclesfield become an area that the public feel comfortable using again.

It is being celebrated with local artists Cora Glasser and David Ball, collectively known as ‘Glassball’, who will unveil their artworks as part of the event. The artworks will reveal hidden stories from the area and provide visual pointers connecting the area’s past and present.

Printed and cut steel panels will contain comments gathered from community consultation events, along with photographs, many of which have been donated by local residents.

Throughout the year, Macclesfield residents have commented on the positive work that has taken place to regenerate the area. Cheshire East Council has landscaped, cleaned, painted and lit Waters Green as improvements have continually been made.

The subway is now a clean and welcoming area which has benefited from modern, low-cost LED lights that have been installed in existing lamps to increase night-time vision and safety.

The subway was previously a dark, dank depressing place. It has now benefited from a thorough, deep clean, which has seen additional cobbles laid, clearance of overgrown areas and the creation of natural sight lines, which have enhanced public safety.

Councillor Don Stockton, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for regeneration, said: “To get to where we are now is testament to the Cheshire East Macclesfield regeneration and cultural development teams, who have shown incredible vision to realise this aspirational project.”

Cora Glasser said: “The underpass at Waters Green represents a complex merging of the many layers of movement within a context of local heritage, folklore and everyday functionality.

“Working with local residents, Macclesfield museums and Arigi Bianchi – who allowed us access to their archives – provided us with a varied and rich body of information that shaped the artworks you see today.”

The bulk of the funding for the project has come from Cheshire East with additional support from the Cheshire Police Crime Commissioner’s fund, Network Rail and Tesco’s bags for life scheme.

On Monday, as well as the unveiling of the art installation, wildflower seeds will be sown to create a meadow along Middlewood Way, which will attract wildlife in the spring.