March 16 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
OPINION: Ever walked around Norwich or Norfolk and considered what you would do to change things for the better, were you in charge?
It’s certainly something I’ve done and today’s exciting news about developments at Norwich castle has prompted me to share one of these particular views with the world – or you the reader at least.
As work begins to set up a series of new displays looking back on the county’s rich Norman heritage, bosses have also spoken of their wider intentions for the castle, which are to take it to a new, national, level.
“This building is the real heart of Norwich,” said chief curator John Davies. “We passionately believe in the importance of the castle in helping local pride and bringing tourism to the region.”
I couldn’t agree more with this sentiment, Norwich castle should be the icon of not just the city but Norfolk as a whole. Not only is it rich in stories of old, it stands tall as a beacon of the city centre.
Yet, in spite of this, metaphorically speaking it feels as if the rest of the city centre has turned its back on the castle and does not care for it.
Walk through places such as Dover, Durham, York and Chester, and you are left in no doubt as to the existence of their own historical icons. They are well-signposted and heavily advertised – shouted about in other words. Could the same be said of Norwich? But what grates with me even more is life around the castle, in particular Castle Meadow, a cut-through for buses and taxis and one of the most heavily-polluted roads in the city because of it.
Wouldn’t it be better to get rid of the vehicles, pedestrianise the road and attempt to breathe new life into the area, with the castle at the heart of all that?
Imagine a day when on the one side of Castle Meadow you have a line of decent restaurants (what a meal with a view that would be) and perhaps the other side a museum, continental market or one or two stalls dotted around leading up to the Castle Meadow itself.
That road could then be at the heart of cultural city centre events, such as re-enactments, celebrations and parades.
Clearly what I don’t have the answer for is where the displaced buses and taxis would go, but I’m sure it’s a challenge worth attempting.
Do you agree or disagree? Email me at email@example.com or tweet me @david_powles