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Sculpture row drags on

February 29, 2008 12:00 AM
By Brentwood Weekly News reporter in Brentwood Weekly News

A row over a sculpture to celebrate the 2012 Olympics is continuing.

Brentwood Council's Liberal Democrat members believe that money allocated by Essex County Council for a gateway sculpture near the Brook Street roundabout in Brentwood would be better spent elsewhere now plans to stage the mountain biking event in Weald Country Park have fallen through.

The party have been campaigning for the money to be spent on athletics facilities in the borough.

At a meeting of Brentwood Council last week, county and borough councillor Phil Baker confirmed that the sculpture will be built as the council has not given up hope of hosting an event, possibly in the Paralympics, but a cost has not been confirmed.

Speaking this week, David Kendall, Lib Dem councillor for Pilgrims Hatch, said: "I cannot believe that the county council are still going ahead with this gateway sculpture project when we are no longer going to be hosting an Olympic event in the borough.

"The fact that Phil Baker doesn't even know how much it is going to cost is also very worrying. I think it would make much more sense to cancel the stature for Brentwood and put the money towards providing an all-weather athletics track for use by all in our community."

"But if they are determined to continue, perhaps they should erect a white elephant - that is what it is going to be in the eyes of our residents."

Speaking during the meeting, Mr Baker said: "We are 15 minutes from Stratford and we still may have an Olympic event here.

"We haven't given up so let's just get it in perspective.

"A lot of schools are behind it and a lot of people still want to celebrate this fantastic event on our doorstep."

Local schoolchildren and artists Celia Gregory and Toin Adams have been working together on designs for the sculpture in recent months.