Sculpture protestors offer up new sites

CAMPAIGNERS calling for the controversial scallop shell sculpture on Aldeburgh beach to be moved have put forward nine alternative sites for consideration.

By Sarah Chambers

CAMPAIGNERS calling for the controversial scallop shell sculpture on Aldeburgh beach to be moved have put forward nine alternative sites for consideration.

The Voices of the People committee has presented the proposals to Suffolk Coastal District Council, Aldeburgh Town Council, the sculptor Maggi Hambling and Adnams charity, on behalf of those who donated money towards the work, as it continues its battle to re-site the stainless steel work.

It claims the sculpture in its present site ruins an unspoilt stretch of coastline and “has access and public safety problems”.

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Among the proposals are to move it forward from its present position on the beach in front of the town's Thorpe Road car park so that it sits between the car park and the footpath.

Another is to place it in a square of tarmac next to public conveniences, allowing a view from Victoria Road.

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Campaigners argue this alternative would provide “excellent access” and avoid “unflattering” side views of the sculpture.

But Miss Hambling argued that none of the alternatives met the necessary criteria for the sculpture.

Her sculpture, in honour of the composer Benjamin Britten, has attracted controversy ever since it was unveiled nearly a year ago on November 8.

Petitions for and against it were presented to Suffolk Coastal earlier this year and talks were held with town council representatives.

The East Anglian Daily Times ran its own poll in which a clear majority of readers favoured keeping it where it is.

Suffolk Coastal, which owns the land and the sculpture, which was given to it by Miss Hambling, eventually came to the same conclusion.

But the Voices of the People committee has continued the campaign to get it moved.

Its chairman, David Gordon, said he had spoken to representatives of Suffolk Coastal District Council about the nine alternative sites.

The committee agreed the sites proposed should be between the Thorpeness boundary north of the town down to the Martello tower to the south.

“We also defined it width-ways and decided it did not need to be on the shingle, provided it was within sight of the sea,” said Mr Gordon.

“What we have got to do is to try and achieve a location everyone is happy with.”

But Miss Hambling insisted the work was “site specific” and that the present location was the one she originally conceived the work for.

“It has to be in that close proximity to the sea for it to work. None of these sites meet those requirements,” she said.

A spokesman for Suffolk Coastal District Council said: “The leader of the council has written to Mr Gordon in response to his letter.

“I would not want to reveal to the Press the details of the letter until Mr Gordon has read it.”

Aldeburgh Town Council's town appearance committee is due to consider the proposals for the nine alternative sites when it meets on Monday night .

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