Sculpture concerns

Councillor Joan Baird believes that a £18,333 stainless steel sculpture earmarked for Kenlis Street, Banbridge would be better placed at Solitude Park.

The three metre high art piece entitled ‘From the Bridge to the Bann’ which is to be completed in May, has caused location concerns with the local councillor.

Mrs Baird believes that it would be better placed close to the River Bann.

She said, “I do not believe that the statue should have been placed at Kenlis Street.

“It should have been placed at Solitude Park - close to the River Bann - but those decisions have already been made. I have yet to see a model of the work.

“There have been safety concerns so it cannot be placed in the centre of the town. If that is the case and there was no chance that it should be in the centre of the town then the next best place would have been at Solitude Park.

“I am all for, and do believe in showing off ,work crafted by young people.

“I would always encourage their work. If there is money about for a sculpture then that is fine especially if it highlights the history of the area or whatever.

“In Hillsborough, there is the Harry Ferguson statue - it is there for a purpose and shows off the village’s history.

“Then we have the Corbet Column erected at Corbet Lough near Banbridge which turned out very well and it is overlooking the water.

“It was commissioned by Mourne Heritage Trust, and inspired in part by the contribution of the linen industry to the local Banbridge economy.”

The public art project, under the Mourne Public Art Project is totally funded by the Arts Council and Northern Ireland Tourist Board.

The sculpture was initially earmarked for Katesbridge play area but after some negotiation the NITB asked the council that a more central site be found within the district.

An agreement was reached that the sculpture would be placed at Kenlis Street at the proposed bus station in Banbridge.

The designer, Eleanor Wheeler also designed the Lucky Penny piece in Rathfriland.

She hopes that the statue which will be partly made up of small tiles will be completed in consultation with local school children.

The ‘Bridge to the Bann’ shows a cut in the middle that represents the shape of the River Bann with the top representing the Mourne Mountain.

The piece will also contain a bronze band containing patterns from the linen industry.