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Celebrations greet the arrival of Queen Street's leafy barriers

Friday, 16th July 2010.

Sculptured steel lime leaves form the new gates to Haverhill's Queen Street, their modern design signifying a youthful and forward-looking town.

At the official launch of the gates at lunchtime today, the sun came out to show the complex and time-consuming detailed work put into fashioning them, much of it by town schoolchildren.

And children were there to represent their schools and to make a simple procession from one end of the street, where the larger gates shut out traffic, to the other, where a smaller set of gates provide a barrier to traffic but also invite pedestrians in.

Children from Westfield Primary School and Samuel Ward College of Arts and Technology were there to represent schools in the town, nearly all of whom had contributed.

The gates were created and designed to ideas developed by pupils at Samuel Ward, whose head of art Neil Williams also oversaw many other schools' pupils, and members of the community, working on the finishing touches.

The lime leaves are studded with Q-shape motifs forming a crown to reflect the name of Queen Street. At night they will be lit by low-energy LED lighting within them.

Samuel Ward student Tom Bailey, 16, said school pupils had helped not only during school time, but in their own free time as well.

The gates were designed, he told the crowd, to give the impression of a street open to pedestrians but closed to traffic.

The brief given to the students was to design barriers of a Victorian style to link with the townscape, but what they came up with was slightly different.

"The modern outcome shows the young generation are experimental and part of a modern and forward-looking town," he said.

"I hope the gates perform their finction well and are received positively by the people of Haverhill."

Cllr John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, which has paid for the project, described it as 'a great day for Haverhill'.

"Haverhill town centre has undergone dramatic change recently, and nowhere is that more evident than here in Queen Street." he said.

He thanked all involved, and handed out certificates to school pupils who had worked on the project.

Haverhill's new MP Matthew Hancock, said the gates were 'fantastic'.

"They look brilliant," he said, "and are some of the finest gates in any high street in the country, I should think. Everyone should be very proud of them.

He said the most significant point was that young people from the town had designed them.

"Haverhill is such a young town, with a real sense of dynamism," he said.

He thanked Cllr Karen Richardson, chairman of Public Art for the Town Centre of Haverhill (PATCH), who had had the dtive and vision to turn the idea into a reality.

"They will make the street such a great place to come and visit," he said. "I urge people to come and look around and support the town centre."

Some shops in Queen Street turned out staff in fancy dress for the occasion, including C and B Beautiful and Sonias, and collected for the British Heart Foundation.

Street entertainment provided for the occasion included a juggling stilt-walker, and music from Samuel Ward college's string quartet.

Haverhill Online News

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Haverhill, UKPosted by HANDBAG at 11:43AM on 19th July, 2010. (212.169.xxx.xxx)

Well, I think they're lovely. The children looked so proud as they placed the finials on to the small gates. Then the first comment I heard as I walked up the town to go back to work was ' what a waste of money!' Is it my imagination, or does Haverhill have far more than it's share of moaning old gits! Yes, we need more shops and yes, the bus station was a disaster, but can't we be pleased when something's done well, especially when schoolchildren are involved?

Haverhill, UKPosted by Happy in Haverhill at 1:24PM on 20th July, 2010. (95.146.xxx.xxx)

I think they look great too; I know first hand that the whole project really did involve a whole range of local school children. Fantastic.
But Handbag, you are certainly right when it comes to the moaners. Some people will never be happy, full stop. As I stood and watched the unveiling I had to listen to 2 old men standing in the doorway of the betting shop moaning about how much they cost! If they had looked cheap and flimsy they would moan that Haverhill had no money spent on it; there is no winning with this sort. What we have though is a unique and functional work of art. Well done!


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