The long dark nights may be upon us, but there’s plenty of light to be found at Royal Terrace Gardens in Torquay.
The new LIGHTPLAY will officially be switched on at a special event tomorrow, Friday December 3.
Royal Terrace Gardens can now be enjoyed year round after repairs were made to the existing electrics at the site, the steps now glow in shades of yellow and orange and 10 new columns have been installed that not only illuminate the gardens and planting, but project shapes onto the pathways.
The work was made possible using a share of £750,000 accelerated funding secured by Torbay Council from the Town’s Fund, which saw enhancements to three areas in Torquay.
Following a design consultation process and inspiration from famous local figures such as scientist Amelia Griffiths (1768-1858) and geologist and archaeologist William Pengelly (1812-1894), local residents said they wanted to see the natural heritage of the area celebrated, along with Torbay’s UNESCO Global Geopark designation.
The lighting design was led by Michael Grubb Studios, who worked with Devon-based Drew and Co on the technical installation.
The overall concept behind the project was a collaboration between Torbay Culture, Ginkgo Projects, South Devon College, SWISCo, TDA, Torquay Museum, Torbay Council, Anouk Mercier, and a number of individual student placements.
The lights will be formally unveiled by Cllr Terry Manning, Worshipful Mayor of Torbay, tomorrow.
Along the pathway from the Pavilion to Abbey Crescent between 6pm and 8pm, the public can expect to discover a number of unexpected surprises along the route, including street entertainers, workshops and storytellers.
Cllr Darren Cowell, deputy leader of Torbay Council, said: “The unveiling of the new lighting at Royal Terrace Gardens, completes our three accelerated Torquay Town Deal projects.
"Inspired by our cultural heritage and natural landscape, Royal Terrace Gardens can now be enjoyed year round.
"The lights look fantastic from within the gardens and from Princess Gardens which also benefitted from lighting enhancements this year.”
Cllr Swithin Long, Cabinet member for economic regeneration, tourism and housing, said: “This year has seen the start of Torquay’s once in a generation programme of works that are going to improve the area for residents, businesses and visitors.
"By linking Royal Terrace Gardens and Princess Gardens, we’ve made the space, more accessible and an all year-round place to visit and enjoy.
"More of Torquay and Torbay’s regeneration projects will start to take shape in 2022, bringing our shared vision for the area to life.”
Vince Flower, chairman of the Torquay Town Board, said: “All of the projects within the Torquay Town Investment Plan have been developed to revitalise and regenerate the town centre and surrounding areas.
"The local community has been instrumental in helping us to create and shape a Torquay that is fit for the future, and we’re grateful for their ongoing support.
"By working with our partners, together we’re creating places that people can be proud of and enjoy spending their time.”
The festoon lighting in Princess Gardens and along Torquay and Paignton’s seafronts will also be turned to warm sunset colours tomorrow evening to compliment the lighting in Royal Terrace Gardens.
Those wishing to attend are advised to do so safely. This means taking a lateral flow test prior to attending.
This is an exciting time for Torbay with a range of multi-million pound projects in the pipeline to make spaces where people can thrive.
These include £21.9m for Torquay Towns Fund, plus £13.36m for the Future High Street Fund for Paignton.
This is in addition to a new ‘Torquay Gateway’ train station for the Edginswell area, with £7.8m awarded from Network Rail for its development.
There are also plans to enhance Brixham in line with the Brixham Peninsula Neighbourhood Plan with key areas earmarked including Harbour regeneration and Brixham town centre car park which recently received a share of £1m secured through the Brownfield Land Release Fund.
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