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Hemsby artwork tagged waste of money

PUBLISHED: 14:46 08 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:20 30 June 2010

THE ART OF THE STORM: The Hemsby sculpture which has been criticised by local residents

THE ART OF THE STORM: The Hemsby sculpture which has been criticised by local residents

A new decorative sculpture which aims to reflect Hemsby's seaside heritage is making waves with villagers who have tagged it “a waste of money.”

The blue wave-shaped artwork in front of the village's public toilets close to shops in Kingsway has sprung up amid new planting and benches as part of a scheme to cut the dominance of cars - and accidents on rural roads.

A new decorative sculpture which aims to reflect Hemsby's seaside heritage is making waves with villagers who have tagged it “a waste of money.”

The blue wave-shaped artwork in front of the village's public toilets close to shops in Kingsway has sprung up amid new planting and benches as part of a scheme to cut the dominance of cars - and accidents on rural roads.

While opinions are mixed some residents and shopkeepers say the ornate railings featuring fish swimming through them are a waste of money which do little to enhance the village.

Diane Scott, a supervisor at the nearby village Spar shop, said: “It looks awful. Where the artwork is now, it is stuck round near a horrible red telephone box. If they had put the waves up this end, it would have been a lot better.

“I think it looks ridiculous. For the money the council has spent, they could have spent it on something more useful. I thought it was going to be all block paving and looking really pretty.”

Hemsby resident Joyce Wilkinson, 80, of Vine Close, was visiting the Kingsway shops on Tuesday with her husband Derek, 81 and dog Roxy.

She said: “I think it is a load of rubbish and a waste of money. Who is going to look at that, especially when the village needs a lift with the empty Pontins camp on one side and allotments planned on the other.

“The council could have done a lot better with the money. They are not even palm trees, they are Yucca trees. When they lose their blossoms, it is going to be like walking through snow.”

However, Stable Field Way resident Julie Knight, 55, was more positive, saying: “I think the whole thing looks a lot tidier than before. The toilets need brightening up really.

“But I don't think it fits in with the rest of the things they have done. There is no theme to it. Unless they are going to do something else, such as paint the toilets to fit in with the colour scheme.”

Painter and decorator Karl Hutchinson, 48, who lives in the Beach Road area, feared the shape of the sculpture could increase the chances of a serious injury if a motorcyclist was impaled on one of the structure's long spikes.

The project is part of a county council trial for the Department for Transport to bring in innovative or unusual measures to cut accidents in rural areas, which if successful may be rolled out across the country.

The aim is to create a “self explaining village” to gently change driver behaviour by enhancing features within the highway environment, like planting more trees.

County council spokesman John Birchall said Hemsby Parish Council had been consulted about the developments.

He said: “Overall, the parish council has been very positive about the changes and is anxious that the work should be completed as soon as possible. It has been delayed over the winter because the gangs were also on winter maintenance duty on the gritters and were out rather a lot. The planting is still going on.”


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