Garden Town: A new vision of St Austell’s future

A diverse group of business leaders, community groups, artists, heritage organisations, educational institutions and local politicians have come together under the leadership of the St Austell Bay Economic Forum (SABEF) to think about a creative response to the challenges and opportunities facing the town. We aim to turn the St Austell area into a vast garden featuring stunning ceramic artwork.  

Using ceramics and horticulture to create public art installations will raise the quality of the built environment and public spaces across the area. China clay; the material that transformed St Austell’s fortunes, will be used to create statues, carvings, engravings, paving designs, mosaics, street furniture that will sit next to planting schemes curated by some of the UK’s most popular gardens.

Two annual festivals on these themes, the Garden Festival in June and Whitegold Festival in September, provide an improved sense of place and community pride, and complement these permanent exhibitions.

This vision for the area will enhance the landscape, transform spaces and stimulate economic growth by attracting new visitors, new investment and make the area an attractive place to live and work.

Through the green and white gold mission, a sister project called Whitegold highlights the Whitegold Arts programme and is based around bringing ceramic artists and makers back to the place where the China Clay industry started in the mid 1700s.

Having achieved year upon year success with the Autumn Whitegold festival, SABEF are brining to life the Greening programme with the Garden festival to celebrate and showcase the world class gardens located in the area.  In 2018 we held the first Garden Festival in St Austell and we want it to become a permanent fixture in St Austell’s events calendar. 

By creating two celebratory festivals in the year, we hope to encourage new audiences and visitors to the area and start to provide an opportunity for local residents to engage with our cultural regeneration programme. 

The project area covers the Coastal Community Area that SABEF promotes and co-ordinates, including the entire St Austell Bay from the popular tourist destination of Fowey in the east to the famous fishing village of Mevagissey in the south, and incorporating the china clay area to the north and west.


Key greening projects include:

The new St Austell Link Road , which will be a designated ‘Garden Route’ leading visitors all the way down from the A30 into town via Bugle and Roche.

The creation of rich biodiversity habitats and wildflower corridors along the existing A391 route from the Carthew roundabout to the Pinetum junction – delivered in partnership with Cornwall Council.

A series of planting, ceramics and landscaped installations and features at ‘Garden Gateways’ like Mount Charles roundabout, Pinetum junction, and St Austell railway station (amongst others).

In the heart of St Austell Town Centre, we are creating ceramics and planting installations with local residents and co-partners like St Austell Bid and White River Place with sites such as Biddicks Court being highlighted for an art installation and varied plantings and seasonal displays.

We are also partnering with St Austell Town Council and Cornwall Council and local community groups around local public parks with plantings and ceramics earmarked for sites such as Linear Park, Poltair, Cemetery Park and Truro Road Park, amongst others.

In our Garden town vision we will bring colour and creativity to the urban core with installations and plantings inspired by our surroundings and our collaborations with our partners; innovative idea that marry ceramics and planting to create a world-first showcase for local and international ceramic and gardening talent. We hope to initiate garden twinning on a global level, and together with the existing landscape and attractions, our Garden Town vision will make St Austell, and its surroundings, home to a wide range of sports and leisure activities for the benefit of local residents and tourists.

And with our annual programme of events and activities we have the opportunity to change the way in which St Austell is perceived locally, nationally and internationally.

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