Britten beach sculpture gets go-ahead
A SCULPTURE in honour of composer Benjamin Britten will be erected on a Suffolk beach after getting the planning green light.Suffolk Coastal District Council's development control sub-committee voted unanimously in favour of the plans on Aldeburgh beach at their meeting yesterday , subject to certain conditions.
By Sarah Chambers
A SCULPTURE in honour of composer Benjamin Britten will be erected on a Suffolk beach after getting the planning green light.
Suffolk Coastal District Council's development control sub-committee voted unanimously in favour of the plans on Aldeburgh beach at their meeting yesterday , subject to certain conditions.
Rendham-based artist and sculptor Maggi Hambling is currently working on the metal sculpture in the shape of giant scallop shells, as a celebration of the work of the famous composer who was once a resident of the town.
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Environment Agency officials, English Nature, Suffolk Coastal District Council, supporters of the project and the structural engineers involved in securing the sculpture are now due to meet at the site this afternoon to discuss the plans.
They will pinpoint an exact location for the sculpture – taking into account any potential damage to vegetation – and ensure plans for the footings are acceptable.
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John Davies, countryside manager at Suffolk Coastal District Council, explained: “Overall there is agreement that it can be accommodated there. It's really looking into the finer detail at where it can go.”
The site proposed for the work lies within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty north of the town.
Opinion has been divided on the proposals, and planners received 22 letters of objection, and 29 in support.
Councillors at the meeting expressed mixed views before unanimously approving the plans.
Sub-committee chairman Ivan Jowers said it was “a great pity” it was not placed at Snape Maltings with other sculptures, and councillor Marian Andrews felt it was the “wrong place for it” and said she was “slightly concerned” about its position in relation to the road.
Councillor Anni Healey said she liked it “very much” although she could not see the link with Benjamin Britten. Councillor Winter Rose felt it was suitable for a beach location and said he did not share the concerns.
Afterwards, Aldeburgh resident Jacki McNeill, who objected to the plans, expressed disappointment at the decision.
“I think it's a huge mistake – we have so few areas of unspoilt coastline in Suffolk,” she said. “I won't be able to see a clear bit of coast now and that's desperately disappointing to me.”
Ms Hambling said: “I'm thrilled at this outcome and I'm optimistic about the meeting tomorrow. I'm very excited about the whole thing happening.”
District councillor Maggy Wilson, who has been involved in fundraising for the sculpture, said after the meeting: “I'm absolutely delighted and I shall be even more delighted when we reach an agreement and a conclusion tomorrow afternoon.”
She added if all goes well, they hope to unveil the sculpture on September 21.
She said of the sculpture's detractors: “I hope when they see it they will realise how beautiful it is, and how lucky we are to have a major public work of art designed and made by such a famous sculptor.”