Sculpture unveiled at Newmarket's Yellow Brick Road
A Newmarket community group has marked a milestone for an important town green space with the unveiling of an ornamental gateway, in readiness for national judging later this month.
The new arch at the Exeter Road entrance to the Yellow Brick Road footpath and cycleway, which links the town centre with Studlands Park, has been created by metal work sculptor Nigel Kaines, whose work has already been commissioned at several key civic sites across West Suffolk.
The scuplture is part of the efforts by members of the Friends of the Yellow Brick Road, a local volunteer group, working to improve the path. They have invited national Green Flag judges to assess their work.
Green Flags are awarded to the best public parks and green spaces in the country, and the Friends, recognising the area's potential, are working hard to achieve Green Flag status.
"The fantastic ornamental gate makes a great statement about the special space you are entering, said group chairman Ed Wombwell.
"Our work recently has addressed issues such as litter and dog fouling that in the past may have prevented local residents from fully appreciating and taking pride in the Yellow Brick Road.
"The gateway signals our intent to make a difference and is the start of lots of work still to do.
"We want people to feel comfortable and enjoy using the green space, and we are hoping for some useful feedback from the Green Flag judges that we can use."
John Smithson, ranger for Forest Heath District Council who has been working closely with the group, said, "The inherent quality of the space is undeniable and the amazing work being done by this group and all kinds of local volunteers is steadily revealing its potential.
"It stretches from the Emerald Orchard, at the back of Studlands Community and Sports Centre, to the Exeter Road exit in the town centre. Anyone wanting to come along and join in can get in touch with me."
Forest Heath District Council is supporting the work and £15,000 has been spent on commissioning and landscaping the gateway.
Cllr Andy Drummond, Mayor of Newmarket and Forest Heath Cabinet member for leisure and culture, said: "The gates are a splendid addition to a valuable part of the town.
"I congratulate these great community members who have seen an issue and become part of the solution.
"Their confident approach shows that everyone can do something to make a difference, even if it is just changing how we think about using the space."