Halesworth transforms ‘boring old bollards’ into painted artworks

Business and community leaders in Halesworth have painted bollards in the town to brighten it up for

Business and community leaders in Halesworth have painted bollards in the town to brighten it up for visitors. Anthony Eden has even given the project it's own name of 'Bollart'. L-R Anthony Eden, Jen Eden and Sally Marlow. - Credit: sarah lucy brown sarah lucy brow

To most observers they are uninspiring pieces of street furniture designed only to prevent vehicular access.

But the “boring old bollards” that run through Halesworth town centre have been viewed in more artistic terms.

Over recent weeks, businesses and organisations have begun transforming the once plain black posts into colourful focal points complete with poetry and social commentaries on the follies of mankind.

The makeover has been led by 81-year-old Halesworth in Bloom committee member Anthony Eden and his despair at how miserable the bollards once looked.

“They were these awful stumps, like decaying black teeth,” he said.

“They looked absolutely horrible – incredibly gloomy and I didn’t like it at all.”

Mr Eden caught a glimpse of a painted bollard on a television programme and thought he could replicate the idea in Halesworth.

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With no official permission, he and his wife Jen approached businesses asking whether they would like to claim one to decorate.

“It’s just snowballed from there,” Mr Eden said.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by it – there are not enough bollards left.”

“Traders say it’s been a brilliant idea, it’s bringing no end of visitors and has improved footfall immensely.”

Aidan Branch, director of Durrants estate agents, which was the first business to join the scheme, said it had been turning heads in the town.

“As soon as someone told us about it, we thought it was a brilliant idea,” he added,

“It complements the flowers from Halesworth in Bloom and shows what businesses in the town can do to make it more attractive – it’s so much better than those boring old bollards.”

Around half of the 50 or so bollards in the town, located in the Thoroughfare, Market Place and by the railway station, have been painted, with most of those remaining already claimed.

The only rules are the images must not be offensive or used for “blatant advertising” and they expected to be designed in a floral or decorative theme to complement the work of Halesworth in Bloom.

Mr Eden says nearly everyone in the town has supported the initiative with the exception of “two or three who are vehemently opposed”.

Once all the bollards are painted, he hopes to run a competition for people to vote for their favourite.

Other towns, including Ipswich, are reported to be considering similar schemes.