Iconic Copper Castle toll gate a proposed feature of revamped Dowell Street corner

A redundant part of Honiton’s history could be brought out of storage and given a new lease of life on Dowell Street corner.

If plans mooted by Honiton Town Council in co-operation with the Thelma Hulbert Gallery come to fruition, the town’s famous Copper Castle toll gate could form part of a mural.

Currently thought to be in an East Devon District Council storage facility, the toll gate has served as a reminder of Honiton’s significance for centuries – and to a time when people had to pay to enter the town.

For many generations it was a welcome sight for Honitonians returning home from their travels.

Plans for Dowell Street corner, widely considered one of Honiton’s biggest town centre eyesores, are due to be put before town councillors at a meeting on Monday.

A project is being proposed that will “redesign a derelict space with sustainable eco-friendly planting and high-quality community informed visual art”, Deputy Mayor Councillor Duncan Sheridan-Shaw explains in a report.

He says it could showcase the heritage of the toll gate and engage community groups with a collaborative project. He suggests it could “bring the beauty of the Honiton hinterland to this site, creating a relief-style mural involving painting, a 3D object, planting and seating”.

The proposed mural could recreate the landscape of the toll vista, however Cllr Sheridan-Shaw points out it is open to artistic interpretation and would be part of the commissioning research and development process.

If given the green light, the Thelma Hulbert Gallery would manage the commissioning process and the mural project.

Other neglected areas of the town could be revived through a similar process, if the initiative is a success.

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