Scallop row rages on

By Sarah ChambersA RESIDENTS' group has vowed to press ahead with its campaign to move a controversial sculpture.The group, calling itself The Voices of the People, is continuing to call for Maggi Hambling's steel scallop shell tribute to composer Benjamin Britten to be moved from Aldeburgh beach to another site.

By Sarah Chambers

A RESIDENTS' group has vowed to press ahead with its campaign to move a controversial sculpture.

The group, calling itself The Voices of the People, is continuing to call for Maggi Hambling's steel scallop shell tribute to composer Benjamin Britten to be moved from Aldeburgh beach to another site.

Its chairman has accused Suffolk Coastal District Council leader, Ray Herring, of treating Aldeburgh opinion “with contempt” by their stance over the artwork, called Scallop.


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Mr Herring made it clear last week that he did not think the sculpture was in the wrong place and that the council did not want to “hold out false hope” to campaigners that it thought it could be moved.

He added the council believed there was “no realistic prospect” of reaching a consensus between supporters and opponents of the current site - and insisted it would not move the sculpture without such a consensus.

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The campaigning group held a public meeting in Aldeburgh at the beginning of the month, which attracted about 260 people who were mainly against the sculpture's present siting.

Group chairman, David Gordon, said it planned to continue the campaign and had “a number of avenues in mind”.

Mr Gordon said of Mr Herring's stance: “This is the second time within three months that I feel councillor Herring has treated Aldeburgh opinion with contempt.

“First when, in March, he rebutted Aldeburgh Town Council's attempt to review the siting of the scallop, now in defiance of the overwhelming vote of a packed Jubilee Hall.

“It was a mistake for Suffolk Coastal District Council to embrace the scallop project and then to accept the gift of the scallop without consulting local opinion.

“It is disappointing to find that councillor Herring and Suffolk Coastal District Council are now too inflexible to recognise their error. The matter does not end here.”

But Mr Gordon said he was pleased to have received a message from Mr Herring about arranging for the group to meet with the council's arts and culture boss to discuss the matter.

“We fervently believe that a mistake has been made and the sculpture is in the wrong place, so we wish to continue our campaign by rational discussion with all interested parties with a view to arriving at a solution that everybody with,” he added.

“We didn't pick this quarrel and we want to resolve it amiably and as rapidly as we can. Watch this space, really. The message today is we are in business.”

A Suffolk Coastal District Council spokesman said: “Suffolk Coastal announced in March that it had met with representatives of the town council and that Scallop would stay where it was as it had been jointly agreed there did not appear to be a suitable alternative location.

“We are quite happy for the campaigners to explore alternative sites and ready to discuss any proposals that come forward, but it is our stated view that we do not believe on past evidence that there is one site capable of satisfying all the relevant interested parties.”

sarah.chambers@eadt.co.uk

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