The real cost of the canopy streamers

PUBLISHED: 10:31 23 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:14 06 May 2010

The canopy

The canopy

Jonathon Entwistle asserts he has had lots of positive comments about that wonderful canvas canopy strung on outriggers from the tops of 10 18ft high, five inch metal posts with their extensive upper girder work. Like your earlier correspondent A Concerne

Jonathon Entwistle asserts he has had lots of positive comments about that wonderful canvas canopy strung on outriggers from the tops of 10 18ft high, five inch metal posts with their extensive upper girder work. Like your earlier correspondent A Concerned Council Tax Payer, I too wondered about the cost of the exercise and wrote to the council on October 11 asking what it had all cost. A reply was received five weeks later, but only after approaching councillors Jackson and Taylor to request a response from the officers. The reply arrived on the same day that Jonathon's letter was published in The Comet and it stated almost the same, except that I was additionally informed that the cost was £58,735.

I had never noticed repairs being done to the original walkway canopy but it matched all the other canopies and, if it was rotting away and becoming a safety hazard, I fear for the safe passage of all shoppers in the town centre because these old walkways are above and between all the shops and were erected about the same time in 1960. The only maintenance I have noticed since then has been the rare re-varnishing of their facias. So shoppers, watch your heads!

I wonder if, after all those old rotting walkways have been replaced by tatty canvas streamers (sorry! - this spectacular functional public art), will they be spectacular and functional when they are 46 years old? Or perhaps the idea is to build in obsolescence so that we can have a two-year rolling programme of different coloured canopy replacements into the future.

While Jonathon asserts that he has had lots of positive comments about it, I can just as readily say that I have had many ribald comments about it. All I can hope is that the £1.7 million to be expended on refurbishing the public realm (our town centre) is spent less frivolously.

BILL HOYES

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