Controversial statue on Stowmarket roundabout gets green light

Gun Cotton Way roundabout and design of the artwork

The roundabout in Gun Cotton Way will be home to a work of art after the plans were permitted by Mid Suffolk District Council. - Credit: Suffolk Ironworks / Google Maps

A roundabout in Stowmarket will be the new home of a public work of art – despite some concerns from the local community.

Members of the Mid Suffolk development control committee voted unanimously on Wednesday, June 22 to allow the work to go ahead, despite some worries around the safety of the scheme.

The artwork will be placed on the roundabout in Gun Cotton Way which has an exit onto Linnet Drive.

The project initially started in 2018 when the Cedars Park Residents Association (CPRA) decided to launch an effort to obtain a public work of art.

Problems finding contractors and Covid disrupted the project, and it was then handed over by the CPRA to Jenny Davidson, who took over as the project manager.

A vote on the design of the work was held in March in three locations – Tesco, Cedrus House and The Regal – with the winning design being 'Rural Reflections.'

Jenny Davidson said: "We couldn’t have got this far without strong support from our community and councillors.

Gun Cotton Way roundabout

The artwork will be placed on the roundabout in Gun Cotton Way which has an exit on to Linnet Drive. - Credit: Google Maps

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"Naturally we’re delighted with the outcome, which leaves us free to complete the remainder of the implementation plan.

"The sculpture represents the conflict between agriculture, in this case a plough, and building, represented by broken concrete.

"Local roads, bearing bird names, are reflected with six birds in flight, mounted on curved, stainless steel supports."

The project has been funded by Mid Suffolk District Council which injected £15,000 into the scheme, while Bellway Homes has committed to offering further funds or assistance.

Residents raised some concerns over the safety of the project, with one objector saying: "I believe that this roundabout is not an appropriate location for this artwork.

"The proposed artwork will further increase the risk to road users at what is already a difficult junction to navigate."

However, the committee report for the plans, which recommended approval, said: "Public art is considered to play a critical role in establishing a sense of place and local identity. 

"The design of the art display reflects the history of Stowmarket and is considered to contribute positively to the quality of the area.

"SCC Highways have confirmed that the location of the displays is not considered to have a demonstrable impact on highway safety."

Project manager, Jenny, says the next steps for the project are to appoint a local builder to create the plinth while blacksmiths complete the design. 

It is hoped that the work can be officially unveiled in early autumn.  

The winning design, 'Rural Reflections.'

The winning design, 'Rural Reflections.' - Credit: Suffolk Ironworks