Community comes together to makeover underpasses

Cllr Stuart Lawson next to a rainbow mural in Kesgrave subway

Cllr Stuart Lawson has thanked everyone involved for their 'hours of help' in making the Kesgrave street art project happen PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: Archant

Six underpasses in Kesgrave and Martlesham have been given makeovers, with local schools designing art to take pride and ownership in their communities. 

The project has been in the works since May 2021, after a working group was set up to address issues at the subways, including broken lighting and extensive graffiti. 

Police, council officers and parish and county councillors came together to improve the sites, first by fixing the lighting and then with a view to enhancing community spirit using art.

Town clerk Jo Abbott said: "The thought process was for these areas to be safe, welcoming and to reflect the positivity of the community, and for our young people to take ownership and pride in their communities." 

Operative Graham Cobb and Town Clerk Joanna Abbott at the underpass

Operative Graham Cobb and Town Clerk Joanna Abbott have been key figures in making the project a success PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: Archant

Five primary schools and one high school were involved in designing murals on the themes of climate emergency and conservation, and mental health and wellbeing. 

Students from Heath Primary, Cedarwood Primary, Gorseland Primary, Birchwood Primary, Martlesham Primary Academy and Kesgrave High School were visited by Norwich-based street artist Knapple, who has taken on the painting project.

Speaking about working with children to create these designs, Knapple said: "I love it. They always have such good ideas and are so creative. It's so fun to recreate. 

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"I love painting big things, I know others would probably find it easier to paint delicate things, but I love to paint big. 

Artist Knapple wearing a mask to protect from the spray paint fumes

Norwich artist Knapple is painting the murals designed by local school children PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: Archant

Kesgrave councillor Stuart Lawson said: "This has been a culmination of many hours of help, determination and forward thinking and shows the true value of partnerships working together in the community. 

"From the police to the heads of school, the children themselves, the talented artist, and town clerk Jo Abbott, who has led from the front with her team at Kesgrave Town Council, we are getting there and this will make the underpasses a more pleasurable experience for young and old alike."

PCSO Ellie Miles. Kesgrave underpass near the library is getting a revamp with colourful artwork PI

PCSO Ellie Miles at the revamped underpass PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: Archant

Funding has come from Kesgrave and Martlesham District Councillors Enabling Communities Budgets and Kesgrave Town Council, who thanked the estate operatives who trained and provided support for the project. 

The artwork is expected to be completed by the end of April 2022.