Artist to improve Weston's sea wall plans

AN ARTIST has been appointed by North Somerset Council to help with the aesthetics of Weston s £29million flood defence scheme.

AN ARTIST has been appointed by North Somerset Council to help with the aesthetics of Weston's £29million flood defence scheme.

Sculptor John Maine will work with the design team over the next six months to make the sea wall part of the project attractive to residents and seafront traders.

Previous coastal work by the experienced artist includes the award-winning sea wall at Seaview on the Isle of Wight and at Chesil Beach in Portland, Dorset.

The Royal Academy of Arts member was appointed by a committee of interested parties including Sophie Michael, who represents the town's Hotels and Restaurants Association.


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She said: "We looked at four or five different artists and his work seemed more traditional as he uses stone.

"We felt it was in keeping with Weston's Victorian seafront. Any sea wall that has to be built ought to be done sympathetically in line with the original one already there."

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Other members of the committee included Councillor Elfan Ap Rees, Cllr Chris Kimitri and representatives from contractors Birse and Royal Haskoning.

The controversial plans involve building a 1-1.5m splash wall along the roadside edge of the promenade between Knightstone Island and the Grand Pier.

The current sea wall will be increased in height and a series of drains put in between the two.

Cllr Elfan Ap Rees, executive member for transport, strategic planning tourism and economic development, said: "John will collaborate with the design team on all aspects of the project, from designing the seating, guard rails, lighting, flood gates, promenade surfaces, colours and the inner wall.

"His work will embolden the whole project to provide Weston with a promenade for the 21st Century that will also meet future flood risks.

"I would like to show the public the overall design for the promenade at some point in the process because I think they will be as impressed as we were by his work."

The artist's fee will be met from the £1.2million civic pride grant which is part of the overall £29million project.

Materials for the second phase of the scheme have now been ordered.

Almost £1million will be spent on an 'apron' for the sea wall that will protect it from water erosion.

The work follows the first phase which involves repairs to the causeway at Marine Lake, new sluices, ramps to replace the steps and enlarging the beach.

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