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Bridging the gap with public art at Wickhurst Green

An exciting new public arts programme is under way at the award-winning development, Wickhurst Green, in Broadbridge Heath near Horsham. Designs from two renowned artists, Will Nash and Tim Ward, have been selected by Horsham District Council and Broadbridge Heath Parish Council, as part of a public arts programme, commissioned and funded by developers Countryside. The selected designs incorporate a series of installations, entitled ‘Bridging the Gap’ for the public spaces of the new village development.

The artists have worked with pupils from the local schools and members of the local community to develop themes for the art. Inspired by archaeological findings on the site and extensive work done by local village historian Jonathan England, the contemporary works of art aim to complement the heritage of their settings; a modern design at the proposed neighbourhood centre, and a landscape-led approach for the green spaces of the scheme.

Jonathan England from Broadbridge Heath Parish Council, commented: “The Parish Council fully supports the designs and I would like to state my personal delight at the designs of the two artists and thank all those involved in managing the process. I especially like the Will’s “Tipped Stones” and Tim’s “Arches” and I think they will become iconic landmarks in the “Greater” Broadbridge Heath.”

Andrew Carrington, Managing Director of Strategic Land at Countryside, added: “Public art plays an important role in helping to establish the unique character of a place and enriching the environment. We also wanted the works of art to reflect something of the spirit of this area. Will and Tim are two highly talented artists and it has been an exciting process to see their artworks start to take shape, in concept and now, in reality.

Will Nash has designed a series of sculptures made from locally sourced stone. The stone installation ‘Tipped Discs’ takes inspiration from the patterns of the prehistoric post-holes that were revealed on the site by archaeologists. A series of stones will be patterned with images reflecting themes from the workshops, and a second series will have smaller images, such as paw prints, representing the idea of remnants of a long extinct species, or a faded photograph. The sculptural stones act as markers through Wickhurst Green, providing informal resting points. The locations are chosen to highlight the joining of paths and meeting places, playing on the theme of connections and thresholds.

Tim Ward’s design for artwork at the future Neighbourhood Centre will provide a key focal point and gathering location to the front of the building within the public square. ‘The Bridges’ forms a gateway into the new Neighbourhood Centre, a contemporary form, which holds images of the past within the inner surfaces. The piece emphasizes the crossing of the threshold, as one of the main themes of the commission.

Children from Shelley Primary School and Tanbridge House School have been involved with the development of the ideas, along with people who attended the drop in session at the community hall. The educational group ‘Hands on History’ have also provided activities based around experimental archeology for the schools, based on finds from the site.

Wickhurst Green has been designed as an attractive and sustainable new village that offers close to 1,000 family homes. Surrounded by countryside, yet ideally suited to the needs of modern living, the development has a wide range of imaginatively designed new homes. Alongside these, various new amenities and facilities are planned, including a new primary school, a village centre, and recreation and sports facilities.

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