CONTROVERSIAL sculptures outside Skegness Railway Station have been fenced off just weeks after their unveiling, in response to safety fears posed by a teenage boy’s injuries.
East Midlands Trains has covered the wave-like sculptures, which form part of its £800,000 station plaza landscaping works, with protective cases following an accident in which a 14-year-old sustained facial injuries while playing on them.
The move has provoked criticism from local councillors and residents, some of whom feel it is ‘health and safety gone mad’ while others believe it to be an ‘admission of guilt’ regarding the sculptures’ unsuitability.
Coun John Byford said: “Had they consulted in the first place instead of going ahead willy-nilly they could have avoided this expensive mistake - it’s almost an admission of guilt.”
A spokesperson for East Midlands Trains has explained the wooden coverings are a temporary measure while a review is carried out to ‘prevent any future incidents resulting from misuse of the new plaza.’
“We are committed to do everything possible to ensure this area can continue to be enjoyed by all,” they said.
Lincolnshire County Council, which has also been involved in the project, has announced that a new sculpture of the Jolly Fisherman should be constructed on a vacant plinth on the plaza by late summer. The inclusion of Skegness’s iconic mascot is hoped to prove more popular than the works so far.
The council is encouraging sculptors to submit designs of ‘traditional and more contemporary interpretations of the Jolly Fisherman’ to be considered.
With many of Jolly’s supporters holding ‘strong feelings’ about the image and its use, Coun Byford hopes that those behind the project will learn from their previous mistakes and seek public feedback on the various options presented.
Although LCC felt the old Jolly statue, which has been at the station for 30 years, had been damaged beyond repair, Coun Byford claims the statue’s original creator Siobhan Coppinger offered to restore it just two years ago. He would prefer to see the old one brought back up to standard with a little ‘tender loving care’ and for a new statue reflecting another aspect of the town’s heritage designed in an innovative way located on the vacant plinth.