Just returned from a Development Control Committee meeting. Two items of note. Firstly we rejected a back garden infill development that followed the “John West” school of design, ie squeezed in like sardines. It was proposed that two houses shared a single parking space! Hmm.
The second item was for two totem poles to be erected either side of the St Helier Open Space. Yes, totem poles. I applaud the overall initiative of Groundwork Merton who have worked with residents in St Helier to improve the open spaces in the area. The new skateboard park will be well received. However, I still ask myself, when funding comes from the EU, why do the ensuing projects have to be accompanied by odd pieces of abstract art. Strange sculptures litter the roadsides of France, Belgium and Holland. Now we are to have two poles apropos of nothing. Several councillors tonight asked the rather relevant question as to what thought had been given to the risk of fire. The answer was given that the sculptures were designed with vandalism in mind. I hope that the unfortunate reply isn’t prophetic. They might just present a new challenge to the antisocial element. The design in the photo isn’t from St Helier, although CCTV in the eyes and a loud speaker in the mouth might just run alongside Government thinking to ward off those seeking a fresh pyromaniacal challenge.
Others will judge whether I am a Philistine. I’ll just keep asking how much the poles cost to erect and maintain.