Chichester statue under fire from residents

Chichester's new sculpture''Picture by Louise Adams  C140093-7 Chi Sculpture
Chichester's new sculpture''Picture by Louise Adams C140093-7 Chi Sculpture

A ‘TRULY DREADFUL’ modern sculpture has been slammed as looking like a sci-fi villain.

Nurture, a creation by re is a modern statue designed by Neil Lawson Baker, who masterminded the city’s Street Art Festival.

The art was commissioned by Seaward Properties as part of an agreement with Chichester District Council for the development in Church Square, Eastgate.

But one resident likened it to the shiny-helmeted villain from the early Star Wars 
sci-fi films.

“Most residents of the flats and houses in the new development think it’s 
pretty ugly and not at all suited to its site,” said Geoffrey Archer, who lives in Lower Walls Walk.

“One resident described it as looking like Darth Vader. The rector of St Pancras Church objects strongly to it being put there too.”

Mr Archer complained there was no consultation with the public over the choice of sculpture.

“Most residents are very unhappy about it and feel that a chance has been missed to add something really imaginative and relevant to one of Chichester’s busiest public squares,” he said.

Chichester resident John Galtrey slammed the sculpture’s siting, scale and ‘relatively-flimsy construction’. “I have to say in complete honesty that it is aesthetically truly dreadful,” he said.

In a letter to Mr Galtrey, David West, the managing director of Seaward, said the company – which ‘was obliged’ to spend £25,000 on artwork – made an ‘investment beyond its original obligation’.

“We are obviously disappointed that some of the residents have objections to its design,” said Mr West.

“Seaward was particularly keen for the sculpture chosen to be designed by a local artist and is delighted other local craftsmen have been involved in its production.”

Globe-trotting artist Mr Lawson Baker said it was a ‘huge honour’ to be asked to design work in his home city.

The work was commissioned by chairman of Seaward Propertiesm Barry Sampson, to reflect his personal involvement in the care business – looking after children in care and those with autism and Asperger’s.

“We regret there are people who don’t like the sculpture,” he said.

Marion Bruce can see the sculpture from her balcony. She thought it was part of a Chichester District Council anti-smoking campaign.

“The couple depicted have obviously been caught smoking and been banished to the naughty corner where they seem suitably contrite,” she said. “An expensive gesture, but hopefully not altogether futile.”

The statue will be unveiled on January 24.

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