Roundabout sculpture to feature laser

CONCERNS a new space age sculpture planned for a Suffolk roundabout may distract drivers have been played down by those masterminding the project.The £56,000 scheme, which will see a swirling steel and laser beam 'monument' erected on the Haverhill bypass within the next six months, has just received planning permission from St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

CONCERNS a new space age sculpture planned for a Suffolk roundabout may distract drivers have been played down by those masterminding the project.

The £56,000 scheme, which will see a swirling steel and laser beam 'monument' erected on the Haverhill bypass within the next six months, has just received planning permission from St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

And although project leaders, Haverhill Enterprise 2000, say the 10 metre high structure will help put their town on the map, local people have raised concerns.

Chris Cullum, who sits on Haverhill Town Council, said: "I think the sculpture is going to be prone to vandalism, and I would question who will pick up the tab for that – the Enterprise group or the taxpayer?


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"It may also provide a distraction for drivers if the sun hits it. If it is made of new stainless steel, then it needs some coating on it to stop it reflecting the light.

"But, if people start gawping at the structure, then it could work the other way and slow people down as they approach the roundabout. People do tend to speed along that section of road and I have witnessed a few near misses myself as people rush to get home."

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The structure will be placed on the main A1307 between Haverhill and Cambridge, and work is due to start on the scheme within the next few months.

So far, around £15,000 towards the project has been donated to the Enterprise group by local businesses, along with around £12,500 worth of nuts, bolts and equipment. A grant for £22,500 from Arts and Business East had also been supplied.

However, another £18,000 is needed in order to create a long-lasting feature that will stand the test of time.

"The Enterprise group are always trying to improve the lot of Haverhill, and we thought creating a nice, bold entrance to the town would be a good idea," said Keith Brown, spokesman for Haverhill Enterprise 2000.

"It is a quite unusual design, and has provoked some of the expected remarks, but feedback has been fairly limited from both those who like it and those who don't. I expect we will receive more people's views when they see the structure in the flesh.

"More and more roundabouts around the country these days have something on them, and I don't think this structure will be any more distracting to motorists than a rose bed and advertising signs, for example.

"But the council members who gave the project planning permission obviously took factors such as safety into consideration when making their decision. The project has also had to go through the civil aviation authority, as the laser beam will be seen from pretty far off at night and could be a distraction for pilots."

News of the project has been welcomed by local businessman Christopher Gurteen, whose company has already donated to the scheme.

He said: "This world class design will generate immense publicity for the town. Love it or hate it, it will be a talking point for years to come."

And Mr Brown is keen to hear from anyone else interested in helping create the structure.

"The project has been well supported, and while we could construct the feature with the money we have already got, we do not want to compromise the quality of the build," he added.

Any company, retailer or individual keen to become involved with the scheme should contact Haverhill Enterprise 2000 on 01440 714277.

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