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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Help us to 'Get Creative with Sandy Lane'

People living and working around Sandy Lane Shopping Centre can get involved in West Lancashire Borough Council’s “Get Creative with Sandy Lane” project and help make the shopping centre a more colourful and inviting place to shop, work and visit.

Artist Sarah Jane Richards will be facilitating a period of creative consultation planned at inspiring people to come up with ideas to improve the image of the centre. These could include new seating, landscaping and improvements to the entrances and walkways as part of an initiative that could build on Sandy Lane’s heritage. As Sandy Lane is part of Old Skelmersdale it has a long proud history and with the community’s involvement this initiative would help make the area even more appealing to attract visitors and customers.

West Lancashire Borough Council is looking to work in partnership with Lancashire County Council and is awaiting the results of a grant funding application which will help expand the project. The consultation will include talking to businesses at the centre and providing opportunities for the local community to get involved. The process will include a number of workshops and drop in activities that will result in the installation of temporary artworks, created by local people, giving the centre a festival feel. The activities are aimed at finding out how local residents feel about the centre and exploring, in a creative way, how the centre and its surroundings can be improved.

The suggestions put forward during the activities will inform the basis of a design brief that will be used to attract submissions of interest from creative companies. Those shortlisted will then be invited to produce practical ideas for schemes. These will then go on display at Sandy Lane and a favourite design will be chosen by public vote. The implementation of the proposed scheme of work will be dependent on achieving funding. 

A mural “The storytelling Tree” by artist Martin Hayhust  has been painted on one of the staircases at the centre in readiness for a free summer programme of events planned to include storytelling, a teddy bears picnic and a Vintage and Handmade fair.  

Artist Sarah Jane Richards has been working with pupils from St Richard’s Catholic Primary School over two days to develop ideas about Sandy Lane that will contribute to the initial part of the consultation process. The whole school has had an opportunity to produce designs that will inform finished pieces of artwork produced by the artist as temporary installations around the centre.

Councillor Andrew Fowler, portfolio holder for Regeneration and Estates, said: “There is a fantastic community spirit among the people who live and work around Sandy Lane and we hope this scheme will draw on that and become a big success with local people. So please come along to our drop in creative consultation sessions and tell us about your ideas for the centre.”

Councillor David Sudworth, portfolio holder for Leisure, said: “Sandy Lane Shopping centre is a thriving focal point for the local community and we are aiming to make it an even better place to for people to work and shop with this project. So make sure you get involved and let us know what ideas you have for the area.”

The first drop in sessions where people can give their ideas are entitled ‘Secrets of Sandy Lane’ and take place on Wednesday 30 July and Saturday 2 August between 10am and midday and 1pm and 3pm. These will reveal the hidden history of Sandy Lane by bringing alive its history by creating flagged bunting that will be installed around the centre.

Two more sessions, entitled ‘On the Fence’, take place on Tuesday 19 August and Friday 22 August. Visitors can also work with artist Sarah Jane Richards to design and create carnival creatures to adorn the street furniture at Sandy Lane.

For more information on the project please contact West Lancashire Arts Development Manager Helen Juste on 01695 571306 / 571328 or email helen.juste@westlancs.gov.uk.

There are some great free fun summer activities planned for Sandy Lane over the coming months. More details will be released very soon.

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