Sculptures will return to original site in Darlington park after being moved (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Sculptures will return to original site in Darlington park after being moved
NOW YOU SEE IT: Artist Graeme Hopper admires one of the sculptures in Green Park, Darlington, with youngsters from St Augustine's School, in June
SCULPTURES controversially dug up amid health and safety fears only weeks after they were installed are to be reinstated near their original location, it has emerged.
The metal artworks – including a large ant and a spider – were removed from Green Park, in Darlington, in July.
They were dug up and then reinstalled in a more secluded area of the park after officers from Darlington Borough Council raised safety concerns and they were deemed to be too close to nearby play equipment.
Council sources now acknowledge a mistake was made and the sculptures will be returned to the park near to their original site – although there is no timescale for this work.
Artist Graeme Hopper worked with children from St Augustine’s School on the sculptures.
Since they were dug up, the council has met with its insurers and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.
Following those talks, small adjustments have been made to one of the sculptures.
A council spokeswoman added: “It is our duty to ensure the safety of park users, especially children who do not always have a highly developed sense of danger.
“In this case we have taken action to prevent an accident, reviewed and addressed the safety concerns and come up with a solution that will, we believe, satisfy all concerned.”
Councillor Cyndi Hughes, who was critical of the manner in which they were removed, without consultation, said ‘people power’ had prevailed.
She said: “Permission has been granted to move the much-loved sculptures back to their original places as a result of discussion, compromise and the resolute dedication of the community and its representatives – ‘people Power’ in action.”
Coun Hughes spoke to youngsters at the school on Wednesday (October 16), as part of Local Democracy Week.
She used the controversy surrounding the sculptures as an example to illustrate the importance of getting involved in community issues Coun Hughes added: “The young people are delighted that the sculptures will be returning.
“They wanted an explanation and we can all learn from this - not to jump to conclusions.
“This is what democracy is all about – when things do not go right, you get to argue and put your point across and sometimes you get to change the outcome.”
Coun Hughes said the cost of reinstalling the sculptures would be met by the Groundwork North-East charity.
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