Sculptures row as port feels left out

Fleetwood Town Council member Paul Treece-Birch.
Fleetwood Town Council member Paul Treece-Birch.

WYRE Council insists Fleetwood is not losing out to Cleveleys in the £1.6m Sea Change scheme.

The borough council was responding after Fleetwood Town Council pointed out that of the four sculptures recently announced for a seafront cultural trail, three are planned for Cleveleys while just one is to be sited in Fleetwood.

Some Town Council members feel this is a clear indication that Fleetwood is being short-changed by the scheme.

Coun Paul Treece-Birch said: “I am absolutely disgusted.

“It’s supposed to be a trail to Fleetwood but all the statues are in Cleveleys.”

Chairman Coun Terry Rogers (inset far right) said that additional items for Fleetwood in the future would need extra funding and he would raise the concerns with Wyre.

Tom Norton, chairman of Fleetwood Action Group, has called for a public meeting to discuss the issue. He said: “Wyre Council needs to explain what is going on.”

Coun Barry Birch, cabinet member with responsibility for the Sea Change programme, said: “We would urge anyone concerned that Fleetwood is not getting its fair share of public artwork to look at the Sea Change programme as a whole.

“Early indications suggest that six sculptures are likely to fit the Mythic Coastline budget and, yes, four of these are in Cleveleys.

“However, another six make up a wish list for when further funding becomes available and all but two of these are earmarked for Fleetwood.

“And let’s not forget about the other projects making up the Sea Change scheme which will bring further artwork to the Rossall Point tower and inside Marine Gardens.

“A unique selling point that helped secure the lion’s share of the funding from CABE was that we could boast that we have two resorts.

“Because of this, Cleveleys has a right to be included in the scheme, but with around £1.5m of the overall funding earmarked for Fleetwood alone it’s not fair to say the town is missing out.”

The Sea Change programme is made up three following elements: Marine Hall Gardens, the Rossall Point observation centre and the Mythic Coastline.

An approximate budget of £200,0000 has been set aside for the Mythical Coastline project.

Although it is not known at this stage exactly how many pieces of artwork this will allow for, early conversations with fabricators, foundries, stone suppliers and metal companies suggest that six pieces of artwork could be installed altogether.

Approximate locations for these are:

- Sea Swallow Beacon on the promenade at the end of Victoria Road, Cleveleys

- Golden Shell on the stone groyne near to the new cafe, Cleveleys

- Fylde Coast Shipwreck memorial on the border between Blackpool and Wyre

- Princess Mary Driftwood at Rossall Beach, Fleetwood

- Whirlpool Listening Shell at Rossall Point, Fleetwood

- Interpretative Artwork within Marine Hall gardens, Fleetwood.