70ft mural at heart of plans to renovate St Ives river frontage

Proposed mural in St Ives Quay

Proposed mural in St Ives Quay - Credit: Archant

THE river frontage in St Ives is set for a makeover with a 70ft-tall mural.

Town councillors were presented with the historically-themed image at the meeting on February 13 by Civic Society chairman Peter Baker, which would be painted on the side of a Grade II listed home in Tanners Quay.

Mr Baker, who secured £10,000 from the Mary Portas scheme last year, said that the idea stems from the town plan and a recent visit by a delegation from Newark, who said they didn’t realise the river was so close to the town centre and they found it difficult to know where to park.

Mr Baker said that new cycle racks and joined up cycle paths would also be introduced as well as a pontoon and more flowers during the summer.

“It’s an opportunity to use our marvellous gift of the riverside,” Mr Baker told The Hunts Post. “We hope the mural will become a tourist attraction in its own right. It highlights what used to happen on the river so there is an eel catcher, the fishing boats, a train from when they used to come through and a factory.

“If you look to what used to be known as Fish Street, the houses are small but were for large families of fisherman and tanners and the mural is about bringing their stories alive.”

He added: “The cycle rack, path and correct signage came out of the Town Plan’s cycling survey last year.”

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Mr Baker hopes to submit a listed building consent application to Huntingdonshire District Council in the coming weeks before starting in earnest to raise the estimated £30,000 the mural will cost.

He said: “When the Civic Society renovated the war memorial it cost £10,000 because we wanted the best stonemason in the country to carry the work out. We have kept to the same plan and have got international artist Christine Turner to paint the mural.

Mr Baker added that the links between heritage and retail were key to the plans, as it was to the Mary Portas bid, with the money partly paying for a map of the town to encourage visitors to St Ives which he is currently producing.