Safety concerns surrounding New Quay sculpture

The sculpture, which will feature six weathered steel rings representing whisky cask hoops, is currently under construction.
The sculpture, which will feature six weathered steel rings representing whisky cask hoops, is currently under construction.

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Concerns have been raised about the safety of a sculpture being built near Campbeltown’s New Quay.

The feature, currently under construction, is part of a joint project between UK walking and cycling charity Sustrans, Argyll and Bute Council and Edinburgh-based Anna Rhodes Landscape Design.

According to plans submitted to the council in March 2020, the public sculpture, which is replacing an unused boulder water feature, is intended to be a visual marker to welcome visitors arriving into Campbeltown by ferry and to mark the start of Sustrans’ 234-mile The Caledonia Way cycle route from Campbeltown to Inverness.

The proposal for six weathered steel rings representing whisky cask hoops was said to be ‘informed by community workshops and research of Campbeltown’s whisky and fishing history’.

The installation is to include an interpretation trail, featuring quotes gained from community consultation, leading to and through the sculpture.

There is to be two-metre gaps between the rings and the internal height of the highest hoops is to be 2.35 metres, with a one-metre ground width, allowing ‘safe human interaction’ within the sculpture.

The planning application was approved in July last year, after receiving no comments either in support or objection.

However, before it has even been fully erected, some Campbeltown residents are fearful that as well as being an ‘eyesore’, the metal sculpture could pose a health and safety risk if children climb on it.

Many are calling for the plans to be altered to make the sculpture safer and more visually appealing or to be scrapped completely.

Councillor Donald Kelly told the Courier he had been contacted by numerous people who have expressed concerns.

He said: ‘This structure in its current form will look like a pile of scrap metal and will do nothing to enhance the area.

‘I have contacted Sustrans requesting that it does not erect this sculpture.

‘In my opinion, the amount of money this has cost the public purse would have been better spent on enhancing the facilities for local children at Jock’s Adventure Playground.’

The Courier contacted Sustrans, which receives regular funding from local and national governments, to ask if it would consider altering its plans for the structure in light of the concerns but had not received a response by the time the paper went to press.

An Argyll and Bute Council spokesperson said: ‘We follow strict national guidelines for processing planning applications.

‘All normal processes were followed including a public consultation period, where people could make any objections known, and stakeholder consultation. We received no objections in this case.

‘There were no material reasons under planning legislation to refuse this application.’