WHY did I suggest a sculpture for the new A14 (The Hunts Post, December 17)? An average family of four on a day out will spend about £100 on food, drinks etc, which enters the local economy, is eventually taxed and helps to provide schools, hospitals and
WHY did I suggest a sculpture for the new A14 (The Hunts Post, December 17)?
An average family of four on a day out will spend about £100 on food, drinks etc, which enters the local economy, is eventually taxed and helps to provide schools, hospitals and computers.
If you stand overlooking the A14 and transmute each car into an open wallet with a £100 note in it you become aware of the amount of money migrating through our region. This money enters stage left and, seeing nothing of interest, exits stage right unspent. This migration occurs 24/7/52, including Christmas Day and is especially available on Bank Holidays.
What would you estimate the total money in transit to be per year? Perhaps we could make some effort to divert some of this wealth into the local economy?
People travelling at 70mph do not spend money, so we need to get them onto their feet. Because of the planning laws, we cannot attract travellers with such hard-hitting roadway adverts as "come white water rafting on the Ouse" or "traverse the glaciers on Mount Pidley", so how do you get around this problem? The sculpture is the bait.
Any successful sculpture states two things: "Here I am: come and see". The first locks the image into a location, Eiffel Tower=Paris; Taj Mahal=India. The second invites the observer to divert in order to obtain a closer, more detailed look. Doing this slows the mind and makes it more receptive of other messages.
Getting the passer-by onto his feet is therefore crucial. The Angel of the North is a magnificent design and certainly achieves in full the first stage but, when you stand looking at it, there is nothing there other than the sculpture. It is located on a hillside and, when I inspected it, nothing was being done to exploit the visitor - no tourist information, no shops, no recreational facilities and no suggestions on what to do next, in other words a lack of commercial nous.
If you enter our region and travel solely on the main highways (A1, A14, M11) and exit somewhere else you will never be invited to stop at a tourist information centre. If, however, you lived in a country that exploits tourism as a major industry, such as Austria or Canada, this would not happen: you would in fact be invited at frequent intervals to stop and peruse the literature and be shown several ways that you could extract the money from your wallet and drop it into the locals' bank balance.
Because the A14/A1 interchange is on the western periphery of the entire East Anglia region any TIC located at the viaduct would be able to service the entire regional range of attractions. Such a facility would remove the necessity of driving into a town, parking and tracking down a TIC, something the traveller in transit is very unlikely to do.
This significance should encourage the active involvement of the regional tourist industry. Once the travellers cross the border they are lost to the people of the entire region, including Ipswich, Norwich etc. This is probably their one and only chance to sell them their products on a face-to-face basis.
In industry, a design cycle is usually one to three years but here, however, we have a seven-year gestation period for the A14 project. Surely we are not going to miss such an opportunity to do something.