Crowds turn out for Cirencester obelisk plans
A MYSTERIOUS Cirencester landmark is one step closer to a major transformation that will reclaim its significance in the town.
Last week, scores of Chesterton’s residents turned out to view £100,000 plans to restore the 15metre-high obelisk and create a network of pathways in woodland, near Cirencester’s Roman Amphitheatre.
The exhibition at St Lawrence Church Hall marked the first phase of a public consultation by Cirencester Town Council to gain feedback on the scheme, which is part of a wider £250,000 council project to revamp the whole amphitheatre grounds.
It is not known for sure why or when the obelisk was built on the old boundary of the Bathurst Estate, near Cotswold Avenue. It bears no inscription but there are many theories.
CTC officer Hannah Sturman said: "Some say it was an unwanted Christmas present to Lord Bathurst, others think it stood instead of the Queen Anne Monument until Alexander Pope declared it too small.
"Most likely it was one of many follies of Cirencester Park but no one really knows."
Whatever its origins, the battered obelisk is in desperate need of care and attention to help it achieve its potential as a feature attraction in Cirencester.
Hannah said that now the town council owns or manages the whole amphitheatre complex, work was accelerating with construction due to start by August next year and completed by Spring 2014.
Under the plans, landscaped timber and gravel pathways would create accessible links from an improved car park at the Cirencester Scout Group hut. The paths would run past the obelisk to the amphitheatre with information boards created alongside.
A picnic area would be created near to the obelisk and the surrounding area cleared to open up views across the town.
Cirencester town and district councillor John Hughes was at the meeting on Tuesday and urged residents to give their views on the project.
He said: "We really want to hear what people think about the plans and any changes they might want. So far the response has been very positive."
With the backing of local residents, the town council hopes the substantial funding needed for the scheme, as part of the council's Green Space Strategy, will be awarded by an interested but undisclosed trust in May next year.
Plans can be viewed and feedback given at the next public consultation meeting, to be held at the scout hut in November.
Volunteers are also needed for a new ‘Friends of the Amphitheatre’ group. For details contact Hannah on 07872 396076 or email firstname.lastname@example.org