DRIVERS passing through Kidderminster town centre have undoubtedly noticed the 320 metre-long concrete sculpture - but may not know it was designed by an artist whose work has been listed by Historic England.

The extensive concrete relief decorating the retaining wall from Worcester Cross to Worcester Road ring road has been a defining feature of the town since it was built in the 1970s.

Kidderminster's inner ring road was originally commissioned as a solution to relieve traffic congestion through the town centre. The project comprised five stages, of which four were eventually completed.

Stage three - the link between Worcester Cross and Stourport Road - was opened in August 1973 and differed from the other phases in that its elevated route provided a strong visual backdrop to the town centre.

A wide, terraced footway was constructed parallel to the new dual carriageway, providing access from the town centre via a new subway at Worcester Cross to Aggborough, a new suburb that also included the Kidderminster Harriers football ground and Kidderminster College.

Douglas Smith, a consultant landscape architect, and Jack Stewart, the borough engineer and surveyor, were contracted to design the early stages of a project to create a substantial work of public art to embellish the retaining wall.

Public art was pivotal to post-war regeneration, connecting planning, landscape and the environment with local community and industry, creating a feeling of social connection.

It sought to attract attention, reflecting contemporary culture in subject, method and material.

Sculptor William, who had risen to prominence during the 1960s, was commissioned to design and deliver the work.

Much of Mitchell's art centred on the creation of large-scale installations, using concrete shaped with fibreglass moulds.

His style was rooted in mid-20th century modernism and inspired by abstract design.

Many of his pieces, which are scattered across the country, have since been granted protective, listed status.

The Kidderminster relief is approximately 320 metres in length and is typical of Mitchell's signature style.

The main engineering contractor, George Law and Company, brought considerable expertise of working with concrete to ensure the project was successfully delivered.

One of the moulded panels even incorporated a water cascade, which ran dry some years ago.

The relief, with its surrounding soft landscaping of amenity grass and broadleaf and coniferous trees, created a striking backdrop that was visible across the town centre.

It serves as a lasting tribute to Mitchell, who died last month at the age of 94.