The leader of the opposition at North East Lincolnshire Council has warned that “steamrollering” plans for a giant white palm tree on Cleethorpes seafront could leave “a bad taste in the mouth”.
Under proposals by the authority the white artificial tree sculpture would sit on the North Promenade, and at 72ft high, would be taller than the Angel of the North.
It forms part of £600,000 regeneration plans for the town which would also include illuminations, custom street furniture and shutters of shops painted by artists.
Labour leader Councillor Matthew Patrick praised the funds being brought into the area as “essential”.
However, he added: “When it comes to public art installations for the area, particularly with something as tropically abstract as an enormous palm tree, engagement with the public in genuine consultation is a must.”
He called on the leaders to ensure opportunities for local artists and content with “relevance to the ambitions of the borough”
“Instead, this has been done to them without any chance to influence the future landscape,” he said.
“Steamrollering through decisions that will have such a long-lasting presence leaves a bad taste in the mouth.”
Cabinet member for regeneration Councillor John Fenty said more than 20 local artists had so far been identified to potentially work on the plans.
He said a pilot project was taking place to “ensure that we can achieve the quality of finish using digitally printed vinyls as the medium for the artists’ work.”
He said interest from businesses on the North Promenade would be sought once that was “satisfactorily” completed.
“As the programme of commissions is rolled out, images from professional artists who live and work in the area, as well as from artists from elsewhere, will be commissioned,” he said.
“The selection of artists will reflect the nature of the project brief and the quality of their work for this situation.”
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