Proposed oak structure in Barkingside branded 'waste of money'

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Artist impressions of the new structure Artist impressions of the new structure

A £20,000 oak structure planned for a junction has been criticised as an “utter waste of public money”.

The design by company Hendzel and Hunt for the tree-like sculpture at Tanners Lane junction, which connects Barkingside Tube station and High Street, has been submitted by the council’s senior planner, Matthew Maple.

The proposed landmark, funded by the Greater London Authority, is said to be inspired by two historical natural landmarks.

These are the Fairlop Oak, originally in Hainault Park, and the Black Hamburg Vine, a large grapevine which used to hang in Valentines Mansion, Ilford.

The design combines the two with a hollow tree structure and vines planted over it, which are predicted to grow through the structure over the coming years.

“Directional stems” will be included on the base of the structure to point towards key destinations.

But the design has attracted heavy criticism.

Jacqueline Mitchell, of Hazelbrouck Gardens in Ilford, described the design as “unnecessary, ugly, inappropriate and an utter waste of public money.”

“As the site has no foot traffic or public use I can easily see the structure attracting anti-social behaviour and being vandalised,” she added.

“As it is made of wood I expect it will be burnt to be ground within a year.”

Julie Bradley, of Brisbane Road, Ilford, believes a specimen tree would be a more suitable landmark.

She said: "A specimen tree would be far better as a memorial to the area rather than this so called art.

"This memorial wayfinder is not going to stand any test of time or weathering."

“Directional stems” will be included on the base of the structure to point towards key destinations.

A council spokeswoman confirmed the final cost of the oak sculpture is expected to be between £16,000 and £20,000.

"The final costs of the oak sculpture will depend on construction and installation,” she added.

The design statement says: “It is hoped that the structure will enliven a neglected green space in the neighbourhood, provide an iconic feature in the streetscape, and way-finding information at a key node between Barkingside station and other destinations.”

Comments (2)

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6:03pm Wed 12 Feb 14

stickmanny says...

Matthew Maple should arrange for this Barkingside oak sculpture to be constructed tree of charge
Matthew Maple should arrange for this Barkingside oak sculpture to be constructed tree of charge stickmanny

8:41pm Wed 12 Feb 14

MorrisHickey says...

Oak structure? Looks like a load of over-priced old hollyhocks to me. Local government officers who "design" this sort of rubbish costing far too many zeros need to get out into the real world.
Oak structure? Looks like a load of over-priced old hollyhocks to me. Local government officers who "design" this sort of rubbish costing far too many zeros need to get out into the real world. MorrisHickey

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