Gormley stays on the beach

Anthony Gormley
Anthony Gormley’s statues on the shoreline at Crosby are just a few miles down the road from me. Initially set to be a temporary installation it was supposed to move later on to New York, now it looks at though its here to stay.
photo: Steve Thompson

This report appeared in the Acme newsletter, a regional arts publication:

The trust founded to keep Antony Gormley’s Another Place artwork in Merseyside has reached its £2m fund-raising target.
Now Another Place Ltd is putting the finishing touches to a revised planning application which, members hope, will win approval from councillors in Sefton.

Senior figures at the trust, founded last summer to raise the estimated £2m needed to keep the 100 iron men on Crosby beach, have confirmed all the money is in place.
But at least £1m of that, from regional quango the Northern Way, must be spent before the end of this financial year.

Sefton Council is also planning a visitor centre close to the statues, along with improved disabled access to the beach.

The statues had been due to be removed late last year, and Another Place Ltd had applied for permission to keep them in place longer while it completed its fund-raising drive.
The planning application was rejected by councillors swayed by claims that they posed a health and safety risk.
Another Place almost immediately began a planning appeal, which ensured the statues stayed in place until now, backed by the Daily Post’s Save our Statues campaign.
But it has still been seeking the funds to ensure it can afford to buy the statues and maintain them. They had been due to go to New York.

A report due to go to Sefton’s cabinet next week seeks authorisation to present the new plans within the next month. Laurie Peake, from Another Place Ltd, said:

“The grant from the Northern Way has made up the bulk of the available funds, but we have now secured money from other sources, too. We can’t say where from at the moment, but we are now working towards submitting a revised planning application within the next few weeks which we hope will address the concerns people had when the previous application was submitted.”

Sefton Council’s proposals are designed to support the “permanent installation” of the statues, the report by chief executive Graham Haywood states. It adds:

“Discussions with the objectors have been held to mitigate their concerns. Their views will be taken into account in the planning application that will be submitted later this month. Ideas are being developed for minor infrastructure improvements to cater for additional visitors, including a small visitor centre at or close to the coastguard station.”

His report also raises the potentially contentious issue of charging people to use the nearby Hall Road car park, arguing that “it is important to make proper provision for management and maintenance of the beaches and promenade as a result of increased usage due to visitors.”He added:

“Another Place is a valuable attraction in its own right, and has alerted many people to the importance of the coastal park and beaches. It would be a great boost to the sub-region to secure the permanent installation for the Capital of Culture celebrations in 2008.”

When the Another Place Trust was established, it was estimated that more than 600,000 people had visited the statues since they arrived in July, 2005.
Their continued presence in the area is expected to add millions to the economy.
The Daily Post’s Save our Statues campaign has attracted widespread support, including backing from Tony Blair and Gormley himself. Gormley said:

“This is their home now. They have more of a presence in Crosby. It’s an unusual beach. It’s not pretty, it’s nitty gritty and it is more fitting. I also want to see them settled in my native country.”

At the planning meeting which rejected the extension for the statues, TV presenter and councillor Debi Jones led the objectors. She later claimed she felt she had been “vilified” and said she would like the statues to stay, if they became more accessible and safer.

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