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Graffiti mural brings smiles and footfall to quiet part of Newbury town

Newbury Business Improvement District (BID) has revealed a vibrant, contemporary art mural – its aim being to bring smiles and visitors to the town centre.

The artists behind the mural are three well-established and respected graffiti artists who have worked on many major street art projects around the UK. Layla’s Murals, Art by Roo and Skyhigh joined forces to fulfil the creative brief which took two days to complete, free of charge.

The colourful piece is strategically located on Cheap Street, an area of the town centre that receives less footfall than Newbury’s busier hotspots and high street.

Smile mural
Smile mural

Visitor numbers in the south of the town centre have dwindled since the pandemic hit, with a rapid decline in daily rail commuters coming to and from Newbury.

With this in mind, Newbury BID hopes the mural will help draw visitors back to the quieter streets in the area, while raising awareness of the local businesses in this area. It hopes to increase custom and in turn boost revenue for the owners – many of whom have struggled to survive during this challenging period.

Newbury BID, the not-for-profit organisation behind the Visit Newbury brand, has launched several initiatives in the past year to help encourage footfall to this part of town, including a number of trails in partnership with Parkway Shopping and Kennet Shopping. When the opportunity arose for the mural, in no small part thanks to the cooperation of Kennet Shopping which manages the building where the art is sited, the BID leapt at the chance.

BID operations manager Alison Drummond, said: “We’re so pleased with how the mural has turned out and hope employees of local businesses and Newbury residents will take the time to visit the art and explore this side of town more often as a result.

“There are so many wonderful and quirky independent businesses, such as Empire Café, Pageant Party, Newbury Emporium, Bravo, The Tasty Plaice and Ryan’s Antiques, that can get forgotten being tucked away on Cheap Street, but the term ‘hidden gem’ didn’t get its name for nothing.

“The mural really is yet another attraction for Newbury, and we sincerely hope this pays off for the businesses that occupy the area.”

Newbury local Layla Cope, the street art and graffiti artist who led the project, said: “For the art mural in Newbury, the message was simple; bring smiles back to Newbury and give people a reason to visit the area.

“The art certainly brought smiles to our faces while creating it, so we very much hope it has the same effect on others visiting the area, too.”

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