Improving Quarrington Hill Village.
New Quarrington Hill Sculpture Unveiled
It’s been a long time coming but it is now here. The sculpure which is the centrepiece of the Front Regeneration Project was officially unveilled on Saurday 26th March 2016 by the Durham County Chair and Mayor of Durham Jan Blakey. Despite the cols and blustery conditions about 50 people turned out to witness the unveiling of this fantastic record of the villages past. Chair of Coxhoe Parish Council, Stuart Dunn and local M.P. Roberta Blackman Woods also officiated.
The design has evolved in discussion with residents into what we are sure you’ll agree is a unique and beautiful tribute to Quarrington Hill’s heritage and that the finished product has been worth waiting for and does Quarrington Hill proud. Local Miners’ Banners to helped make the occasion memorable and also heritage materials were on display for the community to enjoy with light refreshments in the Quarrington Hill Community Centre opposite.
What is the project about?
The improvement of Quarrington Hill was significant issue in the Coxhoe and Quarrington Hill Parish Plan 2012-2017. In implmenting the Plan, the Quarrington Hill Front Street Regeneration Scheme took a major step forward in October with a public exhibition of the proposals at the Quarrington Hill Community Centre re-launch event 4 October. The scheme intends to improve 4 key sites in the village primarily focussing on the green space in the centre of the village opposite the Community Centre with the erection of a tall stone sculpture commemorating the coal and quarrying history of the village, two smaller stone entrance features on the green spaces at Belle Vue and Hawthorne Crescent, and a planted feature fronting Carole Dunes. It is also planned to install perennial shrubbery and annual planting to regenerate these tired sites.
The Scheme is being developed as a joint project between Quarrington Hill Village Partnership, Coxhoe Parish Council, Durham County Council and residents. The Project Team selected Phil Townsend a local sculptor to work with the ideas relevant to Quarrington Hill and the exhibition was a first chance for residents to see Phil’s initial sketches and models of what may be erected and what the scheme may include. You can see some of Phil’s other work on his website and Phil’s sculpture work will continue to evolve in discussion with residents and local children from Cassop School.
Residents who came along liked what they saw and were impressed with the suggested improvements and gave feedback has been used to improve the scheme: 96% of those who attended supported he draft proposals and 92% supported the choice of artwork (8% had some reservations). Comments from the consultation exercise were fed into the next meeting and taken on board such as “planting are predominantly shrubs – what about flowers”, “do it soon”and “I’d like to be involved”. We are conscious that this scheme has been a long time coming so we are moving ahead at pace and hope to have the schemes in place for Summer 2015. Almost half of the funding required is in place from a £16,000 section 106 agreement from the developers of the new houses on the crossroads and £4,000 from Coxhoe Parish Council. Bids will be made to appropriate funding agencies as well as others to complete the works, with the Parish Council taking on ongoing maintenance for the sites and planting, and of course ompleting the whole scheme is subject to confirmation of these grant applications. Ongoing updates will be posted on Coxhoe Parish Council’s website and in future publications.
As you have may have seen from the public display last year and from previous issues, the front street regeneration group are progressing with plans. It is proposed to place sculptures, designed for the village by a local sculptor, at the entrance to Hawthorne and Bellevue and a larger piece on the green area opposite the community centre. Some funding is in place and we are awaiting news on three other funding applications.
Planning approval has been given for the erection of the sculptures but sorting land ownership has been difficult and further complicated by the transfer of the outer areas of land to the new Durham City homes; but these issues will hopefully soon be resolved. The Parish Council agreed at its May meeting for transfer to them of the central area from DCC to keep it as a green area in the centre of the village for residents.
At a previous meeting, the group also discussed the planting schemes to enhance the front street and are currently drawing up plans for a large flower bed on the area next to the main sculpture, with annuals planted to form the letters QH. The next meeting of the group is on 29th June at 4pm in the community Centre and you will be made very welcome if you wish to attend, find out what’s going on and contribute to the developments.
The Parish Council have also agreed the draft con-tract for the sculptor; it is hoped that we will have heard positively from the final three funders within the next few months and that the sculptor can start work soon and that the sculptures will be in situ later this year. It is important that the scheme is driven by what the residents of the village want. Please contact us with any views or comments.
Planning application submitted and approved
Coxhoe Parish Council has successfully gained planning permission for artwork in Quarrington Hill as part of the front Street Regeneration proposals. The planning application which was considered by Durham County Council is for 2 village entrance artwork features sited at the junction of Hawthorn Crescent with Front Street (B6291) and the junction of Belle Vue with Front Street. It also includes a mid village artwork sculpture. Durham County Council, as local planning authority were responsible for consulting the community on the proposals, You can access details of the application from the following link to County Councils planning portal using the planning application reference DM/15/00166/FPA.