Vision: Creating a 'Bohemian Quarter' in Maidenhead

Vision: Creating a 'Bohemian Quarter' in Maidenhead

Reporter:

Paul Miles

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Vision: Creating a 'Bohemian Quarter' in Maidenhead

Creating a 'Bohemian Quarter' in the High Street to drive a business boom was among the plans outlined at a Maidenhead Town Forum meeting on Tuesday.

Councillors were given a presentation by Marie-Anne Leonard from the hugely popular Art on the Street initiative.

She spoke of the volunteer group's ambition to build on the success of the scheme and develop the town into an established arts centre.

Since being launched in 2009 it has generated huge footfall, with thousands flocking to events that see the High Street filled with artists selling their work.

"In order to get people to use the High Street we have to offer them more then shopping, we need to create an experience," Marie-Anne told the meeting at Maidenhead Town Hall in St Ives Road. "We need to bring artistic talent in, nurture them and create a supportive environment to bring something new to the town."

One of the proposals includes the creation of a 'Locate-Create-Connection Hub'. It would help find affordable spaces for visual arts projects to grow, present Maidenhead as a champion of the arts and forge new links with artists based in the area.

There were also plans to create a permanent place where visually appealing market stalls could trade, new signage highlighting the town's artistic connections and business rates assistance to help artists set up shop.

Cllr Claire Stretton (Con, Boyn Hill), who has been working with Marie-Anne to implement a new artistic direction in the town said the changes needed to happen. "Maidenhead needs to be an arts USP. We do not want to become a clone of another town." Marie added: "The long-term aim is to secure the creative heart of this town."

COMMENT: What do you think of Marie's ideas? Do you have any more ideas to support her vision? Tell us in the box below.

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