TWO controversial 3D sculptures are set to be installed outside the entrance to Bury Library and the new sculpture centre – despite one councillor labelling them as “hideous”.
Members of the Reinstate Bury Library group attended Bury Council’s planning meeting to voice their opposition to the plans, which are part of the Asia Triennial programme, which will be held in the sculpture centre from September 6 to November 29.
The planning committee gave their approval on Tuesday night to the designs, which will be erected in the alcoves each side of the main entrance to Bury Library, in Moss Street.
However, council bosses stressed that the decision was not to be judged on its artistic merits, but on whether the installation and taking down of the sculptures, which will be there for 12 months, would damage the listing building.
Robert Abrahamsen, speaking on behalf of the campaign group, said that his objection was not against the artistic merits of the design, but against the location of the sculptures.
He said: “If the fixtures have to be put somewhere, then surely the Moss Street Art Gallery entrance is the obvious place.
"If their purpose is to advertise the sculpture centre, not only is this location more visible for town centre visitors and those using the interchange, but it is also the Art Gallery entrance.
“The central library has already been decimated. The last thing any existing or future user of this library needs is for the identity of the library to be further diminished.”
But Tony Trehy, the council’s arts and museums manager, said the location was suitable, and in line with the Victorian design of the building, which opened in 1901.
He said: “The location is in keeping with other aspects of the facade. People are quite comfortable with the Bury in Bloom installations, and the aesthetics of this are in the same style as that facade.
“In an aesthetic sense, the pieces are not inconsistent with the style of the building.
“It is a temporary installation, part of a programme of events to increase visitor activity in the borough. We will ensure the sculptures do no damage to the facade.”
Tory councillors Yvonne Wright and Dorothy Gunther hit out at the sculpture plans. Cllr Gunther said the sculptures were “grotesque”, and Cllr Wright said they were “hideous” and labelled the link made between the sculptures and Bury in Bloom as “bizarre.”
Labour Cllr David Jones came out in support of the plans, saying he believed some people would believe they would “brighten up a dowdy building”, and that the sculptures had no adverse long-term effect.