Jul 19, 2023

​As part of the enabling works for the repurposing of 59 High Street Runcorn, the mural on its gable wall will be removed for re-use.

The mural, which has been on the wall for a decade, has faded, and the material has suffered from the weather, with some holes appearing, but Hazlehurst Studios hope the canvas will come down in one piece so they can upcycle the material and create various unique items.

Halton Borough Council has instructed small business Warden Construction Ltd to soft strip the Victorian shop at 59 High Street as enabling works for future repurposing for the Creative and Digital Skills Centre.

The skills centre is one of seven projects brought together in ‘Reconnecting Runcorn’, a programme of town centre improvements awarded £23.6m of Government Town Deal funding. Warden will also fence off the garden adjacent to be ‘shovel ready’ in anticipation of future building works.

59 High Street has been vacant for a decade awaiting refurbishment, which the Town Deal is making possible. Proposals for its new use as a winter garden are awaiting planning determination.

Small cultural events can be held in the winter garden as an indoor venue and it is hoped that young people especially can benefit from this project.

The Council based the idea for the winter garden in 59 High Street on the Granby Street winter garden in Liverpool. This follows the restoration of the Georgian property 71 High Street, where Hazlehurst Studios have expanded into since early this year.

Young people from the Prince’s Trust have helped move potted plants from the garden to the yard behind 71 High Street. Hazlehurst will make the yard accessible to the public at open days later this year, and have a continuing commitment to ‘Old Town Bloom’ even if the garden is no longer there. The Community Shop garden has also adopted plants.

The Council is developing plans for several historic properties along the High Street to try putting the High Street at the heart of our community again.

Said Claire Pitt, Director of Hazlehurst Studios: “It is sad to see the mural go, and the garden close. The garden had become a labour of love over the past decade. At the same time, it is great that regeneration work on the Camden buildings can finally happen due to Town Deal funding.

“Amongst a variety of ideas for upcycling, one of our artists is looking forward to making a series of unique shopping bags from the canvas of the mural, which will eventually go on sale. This will give an opportunity for local people to own a small piece of history and take the ‘must have’ bag with them when shopping in Runcorn town centre. I hope the mural will come down in one piece to make this creative project possible.”

Keith Barker of the Prince’s Trust said: “We have assisted Hazlehurst to clear the existing community garden on the High Street, which is to be redeveloped. 

“The young people completed various roles and tasks throughout their time on the project, such as jet washing, digging, and planting to name just a few. This greatly helped them to build on skills such as communication, teamwork, leadership, and reliability, skills that are so vital throughout life and work. 
“We are grateful to Hazlehurst Studios for giving our group of young people the opportunity to work on this and hope to work in partnership again in the future.”