300 signatures for petition opposing gold River Cam artwork
Public opposition to a proposed art installation on the River Cam continues to grow, with a petition set up by Friends of the Cam gathering more than 300 signatures in its first week.
The To The River project, which would see a 50-metre long metallic golden wave structure along the banks of the River Cam at Sheep’s Green, has been described as a “farce” by the Green Party.
Jean Glasberg, who is standing as the party’s candidate for Newnham ward in the upcoming elections, told the city council’s environment and community scrutiny committee: “This proposal shows a complete lack of understanding of both the natural environment and what it is that people value about the river and this very special landscape, and there seems a misguided focus on what would be a ‘visitor attraction’.
“The project has failed to engage the community as required in the brief, and the public response to the resultant ‘work of art’ shows clearly that it is felt to be harmful to the river and nature reserve rather than preserving and enhancing them.”
Anna Smith, Labour leader of Cambridge City Council, said: “As a council we absolutely welcome all views that are expressed, and will continue to do so. So of course that very much includes the current petition.
“The council will absolutely honour the results of the consultation.
“The artist has developed a concept only at this stage, and it’s this concept that has recently been consulted on.
“After the restricted election period finishes, we’ll be publishing the results of the consultation and considering carefully the next steps. Money that has been set aside for public art can’t be used for other things, according to national regulations. So if we don’t carry on with the current proposal, our artist would continue to work with the community to come up with a different concept, which could well be in a different location and does not even need to be a sculpture at all.
“This current debate shows just how important public art is to people, and rightly so. We remain committed to getting this piece of art right, so that it represents the experiences and perspectives of our communities in Cambridge, especially those, past and present, connected with the river.”