Opposition grows to plans for roundabout sculpture

The proposed Helter Skelter was burned as this year's effigy at the bonfire celebrations
The proposed Helter Skelter was burned as this year's effigy at the bonfire celebrations

THE proposed new sculpture planned to replace the dilapidated fountain on Pelham Roundabout has nothing to do with Hastings, say many of those opposed to the artwork.

British artist Henry Krokatsis was the winner of a commission, which is to be funded by the Fairlight Arts Trust, with his piece Helter Skelter.

It is a 13-metre high structure which has the appearance of a traditional helter skelter combined with a lighthouse, and will be cast in highly polished aluminium.

The formal planning application was submitted to Hastings Borough Council earlier this month, and to date there have been more than 100 comments submitted online by those who oppose the design.

One, Gillian Hurrell, wrote: “This sculpture appears to have no connection or bearing on the Hastings area whatsoever.

“It will be placed in a prominent place within the town, and should therefore be something reflecting the seaside nature.”

Many of the other comments echoed her views, while others were strongly in favour of preserving the existing fountain.

Simon Elder wrote: “I think it would be a very bad decision to spoil the iconic landmark which is the Fountain at Pelham Roundabout, with a sculpture for which I’m sure a more suitable location could be found.”

So controversial is the sculpture that a replica was burnt as this year’s effigy at last weekend’s bonfire celebrations.

As part of the planning process, arts and cultural development officer Michael Hambridge was consulted.

He wrote: “The iconic design takes into consideration the fun of being at the seaside with the funfair nearby while also reminding us of the do-it-yourself inspirational character of the town as personified in the story of the nearby America Ground.

“This proposed sculpture will enhance the seafront with its unique surfaces, be a beautiful landmark piece and a significant attraction to potential visitors to the town.”

A similar work by the artist was installed in the lake at Eastnor Castle for the Big Chill Festival back in 2009. Mr Krokatsis fought off competition from Marcus Harvey, Oliver Marsden, Marete Masrusman, Graham Rich, and St Clair de Cemin, whose designs had also been in the running.