Sites found for £62k sculptures - three years after they were ordered
TWO sculptures - costing £62,000 and ordered by the borough council three years ago - will finally be erected next spring on sites in Portadown and Lurgan.
The four-metre-high figures, which have lain in the grounds of the council depot at Carn since July last year, will be sited at the strip of land between West Street and Northway in Portadown and the centre of Lurgan.
Deputy Mayor Arnold Hatch, who has campaigned to have the sculptures set in place, said, “It’s high time. These are superb works of art by Donegal artist Maurice Harron, and it beggars belief that they have been virtually abandoned on the grass in the grounds of the Carn Depot, partially covered in polythene and left to the elements.
“Now that the council has finally decided where to place them, we will have to wait through the lengthy planning process before they are, hopefully, set in place. They are part of the two towns’ public realm work which was completed two years ago. And on top of the £62,000 cost - which was borne by the Department of Social Development - the figures were subjected to an £11,000 feasibility study which added to the whole bureaucracy scene. They were ordered at the start of 2010 and were delivered to us on time last summer. Then things stalled.”
He added the delay was caused by a “clumsy key actions plan” worked out by council officers - ‘development of location criteria; identification of potential locations; options appraisal; preferred options engineering and design; statutory approvals; and installations’.
Said Alderman Hatch, “Frankly, I don’t understand all that palaver. It’s complicating what seems to be a relatively simply operation. But that’s the way of bureaucracy these days. In my view, a lot of this could have been done in-house with the sculptures long since erected, rather than lying ignored for so long in the council depot.”
The artefacts depict the ethos of the towns. The Portadown one is holding an apple to represent the Bramley industry of the area, and the Lurgan figure shows off that town’s linen past.
Deputy Mayor Hatch continued, “I brought the delay to the council’s attention early in 2012, and after that, architects were appointed - at a further cost of £11,000 - to decide where to site them and how to stabilise the sites. I would have thought the council would have had the expertise to do the job. It seems a simple process.”
A spokeswoman from Craigavon Borough Council said, “There has been a substantial amount of work completed on finding the most appropriate sites for these impressive sculptures weigh over 1 tonne each. It was vital therefore that the correct locations were found for them in both Portadown and Lurgan town centres, which can house both their weight and size. Consultation has taken place with both councillors and the local community to identify suitable sites. In turn, an extensive technical survey reviewing the sites has been completed and now we can proceed and seek planning permission.”
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Weather for Portadown
Sunday 26 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: South
Temperature: 5 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: South west