The battle that won't go away

By Sarah ChambersA ROW over the siting of a controversial sculpture in honour of Benjamin Britten looks set to flare up again.A committee of nine people opposed to the siting of Maggi Hambling's scallop shell tribute to the composer on Aldeburgh beach is organising a public meeting to gauge public opinion on the fraught issue.

By Sarah Chambers

A ROW over the siting of a controversial sculpture in honour of Benjamin Britten looks set to flare up again.

A committee of nine people opposed to the siting of Maggi Hambling's scallop shell tribute to the composer on Aldeburgh beach is organising a public meeting to gauge public opinion on the fraught issue.

It appeared the question about resiting the sculpture –which has divided the town since it was unveiled last year – had been resolved following a meeting between Suffolk Coastal District and Aldeburgh Town Councils.


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The meeting was called after the town council decided to approach the district council to ask whether it could be moved to another location.

Petitions were launched for and against the metal sculpture's current position to the north of the town, and the East Anglian Daily Times held a referendum in which a majority voted to keep the structure where it is.

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Following the meeting, a joint statement was issued by the councils that said the sculpture would stay put and the matter appeared to be closed.

However, a group has now been formed – chaired by David Gordon, an accountant, of Aldeburgh Lodge Gardens, Aldeburgh – who has refused to let the matter rest.

Mr Gordon, who felt strongly the sculpture was in the wrong place, and a committee of people with similar views have organised a public meeting at 6pm on June 8 at the Jubilee Hall.

"There was a lot of local feeling about this matter of the siting of the scallop, and I stress it's the siting of the scallop," he explained.

"The people of Aldeburgh want to talk about this. We are hoping they will turn out for the meeting. We are hoping they will express their feelings strongly."

Mr Gordon said if the feeling at the meeting was strong enough, the group planned to raise the siting issue again with the district council – which was given the sculpture and owns the land on which it stands.

Suffolk Coastal District Council leader Ray Herring, who has been invited to the meeting, said he was happy to explain the reasoning behind the decision over the sculpture.

"The decision has been made and we have to draw a line under it and move on. We have done the review and agreed a way forward which is to leave it where it is," he explained.

Aldeburgh town clerk, Andrew Harris, added: "The town council have drawn a line under this issue. This issue has been dealt with and done with."

Ms Hambling said she thought Suffolk Coastal District Council had made it completely clear the matter was closed. "Of course, I'm shocked that some people are still pursuing it," she added.

sarah.chambers@eadt.co.uk

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