Controversial waves sculptures get the go ahead

PUBLISHED: 08:58 08 April 2015 | UPDATED: 12:52 21 April 2015

Seaton Wave

Seaton Wave

Archant

Planners approve Seaton seafront information point

A controversial waves sculpture designed for Seaton seafront – slammed by critics as ‘a monstrosity and ridiculous’ – has been given the go-ahead by planners.

The installation, together with interpretive pillars, will form one of a series of local meeting and information points to promote and inform the public about the resort’s new £4million Jurassic Coast centre.

Approval for the sculpture, at Fisherman’s Gap, was given by East Devon District Council’s development management committee last week.

Earlier the committee had deferred a decision following heated criticism of the ‘waves’.

As a result, officers discussed the design with Seaton Town Council’s consultant working on the overall seafront enhancement proposals.

In addition, a consultation was held in February during the artisan market in the town. Visitors were asked for their views on the proposed waves sculpture, with 82 per cent of those asked - more than 200 - liking the design.

Those responding consisted of 65 per cent from EX12 postcode area [Seaton], with all age ranges represented. Of 23 respondents over 70 years-of-age, 17 liked the waves. All 13 respondents under 17 years-of-age liked them.

Comments included: “It enhances the views and doesn’t obscure anything’, ‘unusual, contemporary and fun-looking’, and ‘love the idea of framing the seafront with a beautiful feature’.

But critics of the scheme say it will wreck the look of the seafront.

Visitor Tony Emery, from Trowbride, said: “It is difficult to see how the large metal waves can look other than garish and kitsch, in comparison with the beauty of the natural waves, and the constant rhythms of the ocean.

“It is akin to painting spring daffodils gold in order to draw attention to their beauty. Surely the £4million funding can be put to better use than the creation of these tasteless baubles.”

The two other information points will be at Axmouth Harbour, on the Wetlands and at Seaton Hole. Their purpose is to extend the reach of the centre into the town and along the Jurassic Coast and they are key to reaping the benefits of Seaton Jurassic by increasing footfall.

Each information point will include a distinctive feature combined with the same core interpretation pillar, to ensure visitors know they have arrived at a Seaton Jurassic information point. It is intended that the ‘waves’ will become a key meeting point within Seaton for people to gather and enjoy the spectacular views, start walks and learn about the Jurassic Coast.

Harry Barton, chief executive of Devon Wildlife Trust, who will manage the centre, said: “Seaton nestles in the middle of one of the world’s most amazing places for natural history. And it’s not just the geology and the wildlife that are so special. The town is steeped in a fascinating human story going back millennia. We want people to feel a real connection with this extraordinary sense of place, both past and present. I believe the best way to do this is to get out into the coast and countryside, feel the sea breeze on your face and hold the cold, sharp rocks in your hand. This is exactly what the information points are there to encourage people to do.”

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