Council disposes of regeneration-funded maritime art
7:03am Thursday 13th March 2014 in News
ISLANDERS are brewing up a storm following the Vale Council’s decision to dispose of some long-standing tourist artwork.
The Vale Council said mosaics have now been removed from the square, Barry Island, while it endeavours to carry out surface work at the resort’s western end.
It is believed the mosaics were included in regeneration works that took place in 1993 and 1994.
But Island resident Mike Heffernan said he was “absolutely livid” at what the Vale Council had done and questioned Vale Council cabinet member for regeneration, innovation, planning and transportation, Cllr Lis Burnett’s knowledge of assessing art.
He said: “The mosaics once again visible on the western square of the promenade are not deemed to be worthy of restoration, but the John Clinch artwork on the causeway apparently is.
“The art work on the causeway just requires a lick of paint whilst the restoration of the mosaics would require a lot more time, patience, a lot more skill and, of course, money.
“The mosaics, when they first saw the light of day in the 1990s were amazingly colourful and interesting and an obvious tourist attraction. People actually came to Barry Island to see them. When the rather quirky John Clinch artwork was revealed for the first time it attracted mixed reviews. Some people loved it. Most people hated it.
“Isn't it ironic that it's the John Clinch artwork that is now deemed by Councillor Burnett to be one worth saving?
“To allow these mosaics to disappear would be disgraceful and one wonders whether the new public art works now planned for the eastern end of the Promenade will in time suffer the same fate as the mosaics when the maintenance budgets continue to shrivel.
“If public art works cannot be properly maintained by the Council they should not be erected in the first place.”
Barry Island businessman Jonathan Osborne said: “Same as all Council projects - they never get maintained and just rot or rust away over the years. When they did the mosaics, they also built fancy iron structures on the promenade, a maypole and even had things like jumping water in the flower beds and various other novel things, which have all been removed over the years due to lack of maintenance.
“It's all very well building all this stuff, but if there is no future maintenance plans for any of it, what is the point ?”
He said the adiZone (CORR), built ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games, was already showing signs of graffiti with the bin constantly overflowing and a safety fence erected for some reason which was hardly a legacy for the Olympics.
He also said the mosaics had been covered with rides for the last six years meaning people were unable to see them.
He said: “If they are going to the expense of restoring the mosaic to its former glory, they would need to return the area back to public open space, so that people can actually see it and somehow, I just can't see that happening.”
Trader Marco Zeraschi added: “There were only two in good nick, but it’s a shame to see art work going.”
Vale Council director of development services, Rob Thomas said: "The mosaic is very badly damaged and consists of tiny pieces of tiles, many of which are broken and fragmented. It would not be practicable to repair the mosaic and as a result they will be disposed of as part of the work.”