Olympic ‘legacy’ tulip mosaic could last six months only

A tulip mosaic created to be a lasting legacy to the Olympic Torch Relay may soon be on show in Spalding’s market place – in spite of fears it could be moved after six months.

Lengthy discussions on where the mosaic could be sited came to a conclusion last October when members of the town forum decided it should be placed between the benches in front of NatWest Bank.

However, there was a blow for town forum members expecting the final hurdle would be at South Holland District Council’s planning committee when they were told the location was earmarked to be cleared of its street furniture.

Coun Roger Gambba-Jones, portfolio holder for strategic planning, said: “We are looking to clear areas of the market place because we’ve found there’s no real reason for 90 per cent of the street furniture there, such as posts that only have a poster on them twice a year.

“In the past the street furniture has got in the way when we’ve held an event and we are trying to solve the problem.

“If the mosaic is placed where you suggest, it could be that in six months’ time it would have to be moved.”

South Holland District Council commissioned mosaic artist Fiona Gurney to lead the project to create five mosaics to celebrate the torch relay through the district.

She worked with art and design students from University Academy Holbeach to design them.

There was outcry in August last year when it was first suggested the mosaic should be placed on the wall of Superdrug, dubbed by one councillor as “the ugliest building in the town centre”.

Concerns that the weight of the 1.2m x 2.4m mosaic could be too heavy for the wall took discussions away from the shop and to a site in front of NatWest.

Members of the forum felt it was an ideal location because it was close to the South Holland Centre and the focus of arts in the town.

Coun George Aley said: “We spent a long time deciding on the perfect location and won’t discuss this any further.

“There is nothing certain about when the town centre will be cleared – it could be six months, 12 months or longer.

“We have been fortunate to have this beautiful mosaic of a tulip, which is still what people associate the town with, given to us.

“The plan will go to planning as agreed and we’ll just have to make sure the mosaic is moveable if it needs to be in the future.”