New fight to get scallop sculpture moved

By Sarah ChambersA FRESH campaign was launched last night to move the controversial scallop sculpture on Aldeburgh beach.A public meeting was held in the town, organised by a campaigning committee that wants Maggi Hambling's stainless steel tribute to composer Benjamin Britten moved from its current site to the north of Aldeburgh.

By Sarah Chambers

A FRESH campaign was launched last night to move the controversial scallop sculpture on Aldeburgh beach.

A public meeting was held in the town, organised by a campaigning committee that wants Maggi Hambling's stainless steel tribute to composer Benjamin Britten moved from its current site to the north of Aldeburgh.

It was attended by about 260 residents, who were mainly opposed to the current location of the scallop sculpture.


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At the end of the meeting, a three-point proposal put forward by committee member Colin Sydenham was approved by a majority vote.

It called on Suffolk Coastal District Council to:

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n accept the present location of the sculpture was wrong

n establish a working group with adequate representation from Aldeburgh to consider alternative sites

n agree a process of public consultation to approve the site ultimately chosen for the sculpture.

The issue of the sculpture and where it is sited has split the town since it was unveiled last autumn.

Petitions for and against the present location have been launched, while a ballot run by the East Anglian Daily Times revealed a large majority of readers wanted it to stay put.

Earlier this year, Suffolk Coastal District Council met with representatives of Aldeburgh Town Council after concerns were raised about the suitability of the site, but it concluded no alternative location seemed likely to achieve anything but further controversy.

Members of the campaigning committee - which included Peter Schrank, who organised a 968-strong petition against the current siting, and broadcaster Humphrey Burton - aired their views at last night's meeting on the sculpture's position.

They were strongly critical that a spot in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty had been chosen for the sculpture and felt it should have remained as “unspoilt” shingle beach.

A few supporters of the sculpture also attended the meeting - including Dennis and Sam Pegg, the craftsmen involved in creating the work - while Suffolk Coastal District Council leader Ray Herring was also in the audience.

Mr Herring said the council had already conducted a review of the decision on where the sculpture should stand and had reached a conclusion that it should stay put.

But some members of the public at the meeting called for a town vote to decide whether it should be moved.

Mr Herring responded: “If Aldeburgh wants to go down the route of going through this process, then that's fine.

“As far as Suffolk Coastal is concerned, we have conducted that review and we have to move on. We have other issues on the agenda, other things to deal with.”

However, committee member David Gordon called upon the district council “to accept that a wrong decision has been taken that must now be put right”.

Mr Burton added: “Let them look at it in some other place and not on our beloved beach.”

But Maggy Wilson, Suffolk Coastal district councillor for Aldeburgh and cabinet member, said there were residents who felt the sculpture was in “an absolutely perfect place”.

However, one elderly resident said: “I would like to know if we are to be at the mercy of any artist who wants to make something and plant it on our territory.”

Ms Hambling, from Rendham, near Framlingham, was unable to attend the public meeting due to a long-standing engagement, but said yesterday: “I really thought the decision had been made and it's rather surprising that people won't let it rest.”

sarah.chambers@eadt.co.uk

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