Sculpture for town centre - at long last!

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They look as if they’re raising their arms in thanks to their great sculptor in the sky – and no wonder. For these masterpieces have been lying inert on the grass of the council’s depot at Carn for two years and two months.

But soon their ordeal will be over. The works of art – by Donegal sculptor Maurice Harron - will soon be installed on the sites in Lurgan and Portadown that have awaited since they were ordered in January 2010.

“Planning permission has at last been granted,” said Alderman Arnold Hatch, who has watched the progress – or lack of it – through 44 long months. “But we can’t blame the planners this time – the incredible procrastination by the council has held this up unbelievably.”

He added that Mr Harron had delivered his creations in plenty of time – in June 2011 as promised. And since then, they have lain in blue wrapping at Carn – “although they were released a couple of weeks ago from the bonds that held them for so long.”

The £62,000 edifices – plus £11,000 to erect them – depict the ethos of the two towns. Lurgan’s, which is on the left of the picture, shows off that town’s linen past, while an apple represents the Bramley in the Portadown area.

Said Alderman Hatch, “There was so much bureaucracy along the line – engineering, how to erect them, choosing sites and all sorts of bureaucracy.

“They are part of the two towns’ public realm work which was completed two years ago. And on top of the £62,000 cost - which was borne by the Department of Social Development - the figures were subjected to an £11,000 feasibility study which added to the whole bureaucracy scene. It beggars belief that they lay about in all weathers at Carn.

“But at least the work is finally going ahead. I checked this week with the planners and ‘approval’ will be recommended to the council on Monday night.”

The Lurgan sculpture will be erected at the old YMCA building in the centre of town, and the Portadown destination is a site between West Street and Northway.