Decision due over plan from University of Cambridge’s King’s College to install Alan Turing sculpture in its grounds
A decision over whether to install an Anthony Gormley sculpture in the grounds of King’s College commemorating wartime codebreaker Alan Turing will be made this week.
Councillors are due to meet on Wednesday (August 3) to discuss the plans at a meeting of Cambridge City Council’s planning committee.
Officers have recommended that permission be granted as the “significant public benefit” of the sculpture “would outweigh that harm”.
The sculpture, which recognises the mathematician who studied at the University of Cambridge, is made up of 19 steel blocks and stands at more than 3.6 metres tall.
If approved the sculpture would become a new permanent fixture within the college grounds, next to the Wilkins Building.
However, concerns have been raised by Historic England over the potential impact the sculpture could have on the surrounding buildings.
The organisation has said the sculpture would be “far more visible” than the proposals implied.
It said: “The character of the college flows from its interplay of buildings and landscape.
“The simplicity of the landscape provides a foil to the buildings and together the whole is greater than the parts.
“In this context the addition of such an eye-catching sculpture in a prominent location would erode the character which contributes to the significance of the college.
“While the addition of the new sculpture would add a new dimension to the historic and artistic aspects of the college, it would also therefore detract from the architectural, landscape and the aesthetic significance of the college, and result in some harm to its significance.”
In a report to the meeting, planning officers said: “Having considered the proposals carefully, assessed the potential for alternative less visible sites and considered the significance of the siting to the public value derived from the artwork, officers are of the view that the public benefit derived from the commemoration of Alan Turing at Kings College in this case outweighs the less than substantial harm identified by Historic England to the heritage interests.”