Fringe Box



Bonfire Sculpture decision referred to Full Council

Published on: 22 Feb, 2012
Updated on: 1 Mar, 2012

Last night (February 21), Guildford Borough Council’s Planning Committee decided to refer the decision on the proposed new Bonfire Sculpture, for the roundabout by Guildford Police Station, back to the full council. The next full Council Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, 5th April.

Unusually, the police Town Inspector, Matt Goodridge, attended to speak out against the proposal, on the grounds of safety. There are concerns that it might become a target for anti social behaviour and a distraction for motorists.  Cllr Jenny Wicks (Con, Clandon & Horsley) supported police concerns over safety, especially as the proposed site was the middle of a roundabout.

How the sculpture may look on the roundabout.

David Goodwin  supported by Caroline Reeves (both LibDem Ward Councillors) spoke in support of the application. In response to points of view that the sculpture could create a safety risk if revellers decided to climb it, they said the same objection could be made against any proposed statue or sculpture. Cllr. Reeves pointed out, as an example, the traffic cones that are sometimes placed on top of the George Abbot Statue.

Cllr Angela Gunning (Lab, Stoke Ward) objected to the whole idea, saying that the 19th century Guy Riots were a part of the town’s history that should not be celebrated.

Despite a comment from Jenny Wicks that the sculpture was just too big, all parties agreed that the decision should not be based on the design and quality of the object but rather on the safety objections put forward by the police. After some debate Cllrs Goodwin and Philips moved for the decision to be referred to the full council. This was agreed despite contrary advice from planning officers.

Speaking today (Wednesday), Theresa Smith, the artist who has designed the sculpture, said: “I felt that there was a real sense of ownership of the sculpture by those councillors who support the application. I
am still hopeful that planning permission will be granted at the meeting of the full council.”

Theresa Smith also took along a model of the sculpture, which was on show during the meeting.

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