Antrim and Newtownabbey Council hears ‘repairing a fence would be more favourable than floral artwork’ claim

Parkgate. Pic: Google Maps

Parkgate. Pic: Google Maps

In August, councillors approved the creation of five art installations in each of the seven district electoral areas (DEAs) to develop a “Botanical Borough” theme.

The proposal was initially agreed in October 2021 as part of “a means to animate towns and villages”. It is proposed to deliver 35 pieces of public art by October 2024 with one “large scale signature artwork created in each DEA based upon the area’s chosen botanical emblem” as well as smaller pieces.

The districts’ botanical emblems are: Airport, rose; Antrim, bluebell; Ballyclare, flax flower; Dunsilly. flax flower; Glengormley, forget-me-not; Macedon, cherry blossom; Threemilewater, flax flower.

The concept of an “award-winning Botanical Borough” was the brainchild of celebrity garden designer Diarmuid Gavin to boost recovery from the Covid pandemic.

A report to the Community Planning Committee said the first phase of work was due to be completed by the end of October to deliver one large scale and one smaller installation.

“The time frame for delivery of the initial 14 installations was extremely challenging given that it included identification of locations, discussion with building owners to gain approval, selection of artists and development of designs, which being location specific could only progress once locations were secured,” councillors were told.

Dunsilly Ulster Unionist Councillor Stewart Wilson said feedback from residents and community groups in Parkgate was “not favourable”. Cllr Wilson suggested repairing a fence at the entrance to the village would “provide a more favourable reaction from residents”.

Innovative Solution

Simon Goldrick, head of arts, culture, tourism and events, replied approval was for public street art and any change would have to be approved by the council although he said that he would be happy to work with the DEA to see if there is a “more innovative solution”.

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