How much?

PUBLISHED: 11:07 30 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:17 06 May 2010

Do you like the canopy?

Do you like the canopy?

A £58,000 modern-art style yellow canopy erected to replace a covered walkway has been branded a waste of money . The canopy has been installed on metal poles in Stevenage town centre, near to Primark, at a cost of £58,735 as part of improvements to the

A £58,000 modern-art style yellow canopy erected to replace a covered walkway has been branded "a waste of money".

The canopy has been installed on metal poles in Stevenage town centre, near to Primark, at a cost of £58,735 as part of improvements to the area.

Stevenage Borough Council says the previous cover was rotting away and becoming a safety hazard and the new structure provides a "much-needed streak of colour".

But residents and shoppers remain unconvinced.

Bill Hoyes, 74, of Park View, Stevenage, who has written to the council about the canopy, said: "It just seems rather frivolous, a waste of money when we had a perfectly good canopy.

"The one before it was exactly the same as the others [in the town].

"I have to say this is a little brighter, this may be what they want the town to be like but it won't last.

"The others have been there half a century.

"The metalwork will last 1,000 years but the canvas canopy will only last a couple of years."

Out in the town centre yesterday (Wednesday) morning, some shoppers were appalled by the expenditure while others admitted to not having noticed the new addition to the town.

Raymond Carr, 76, said: "I think it's an abomination.

"It doesn't really serve any purpose. I don't think it's artistic.

"It's going to get dirty. Who's going to get up there and clean it?

"It's definitely a waste of money."

Carrie-Anne Sturmey said: "It's ugly. It's not very nice, is it?

"I wouldn't have spent £58,000 on it."

Another shopper said: "I wouldn't have it in my garden. I'm sure it works but I wouldn't have paid that much for it."

Alan Upson, 62, said: "I didn't even notice it. I'm sure there's better things to spend the money on.

"I'm not saying it's an eyesore I just didn't notice it. It's not ugly."

Mary Kearney, 64, said: "I'm not highly impressed. I suppose it brightens it up when the sun's shining.

"I've never noticed it before. It's a lot of money."

SBC maintains the canopy - funded jointly by it and ASDA - is a permanent structure.

The yellow material is covered by a manufacturers' guarantee for five years, although the council expects it to last longer.

Jonathan Entwistle, SBC's regeneration manager, said there have been many positive comments from members of the public.

He added: "We have invested a great deal of time and money in improving the town centre, and whilst a vocal minority continue to talk the town down, I take great heart from the efforts of the council and from the many thousands of people who enjoyed the improved town centre at last week's Christmas lights switch on.

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