Green light for roundabout art

Daventry Calling artist's impression
Daventry Calling artist's impression

Plans for an ‘iconic’ sculpture on one of Daventry’s roundabouts were given planning permission by councillors on Wednesday last week.

The proposal is for a new piece of public art on the Abbey Street/South Way roundabout at the entrance to the town centre by the new working men’s club building.

The design chosen by Daventry District Council, after a public consultation, was inspired by Daventry’s broadcasting past.

The cash comes from the developers of the nearby Abbey Retail Park, and if not spent on artwork for the roundabout will have to be handed back. Despite the first shops opening on the retail park in January 2009, nearly five years ago, the council waited until this summer, and the approaching deadline to use the money, before asking for artists to bid for the commission. DDC picked its preferred artist and then asked the public over various design options.

Cllr Wendy Randall said:

“A few of us questioned what exactly it is supposed to represent about Daventry. We were basically told we could approve this design, or we’d lose the money and get nothing. It’s been rushed. If they had taken more time councillors could have got involved, and suggested improvements.

What was chosen by the public was a sculpture comprising five seven-metre tall steel masts encircled by a 3.8-metre diameter ring, laser cut with the text ‘Daventry Calling’, with a multi-coloured paint finish tilted towards Abbey Street.

At the planning committee DDC councillors voted to follow their officers’ advice and approve the plans. Work cannot start until Northamptonshire County Council’s highways department gives a license for the piece.

Daventry Town Council objected to the proposal, saying its modern design and appearance are not representative of the heritage of Daventry radio station. It also says the colours may fade over time.