2 Sedlescombe Road South, St. Leonards on Sea
An artwork by artist Greg Shapter, commissioned for Coastal Currents Arts Festival 2017. An image of a face (Robert Tressell) mounted on the external side wall of Martell Colour Print. Approx 3.5m x 2.5m. It is a single point perspective piece which only 'reads' as a face from one angle, and from other angles doesn't appear to be anything significant other than a framework on a wall. (link to the artist and similar artwork: http://gregshapter.com/)
1 petition of support received.
The Senior Planner, Mrs Meppem, presented this report for the installation of artwork by artist Greg Shapter, commissioned for Coastal Currents Arts Festival 2017 on the side elevation of 2 Sedlescombe Road South, St. Leonards on Sea.
The application seeks permission for the placement of a piece of artwork displaying the face of Robert Tressell mounted on the external side wall of Martell Colour Print. The dimensions are approximately 3.5m x 2.5m. It is a single point perspective piece which only ‘reads’ as a face from one angle. From other angle the structure would appear as a metal framework on the wall.
The premises is a semi-detached property in a prominent location on the junction of Sedlescombe Road North, Sedlescombe Road South, Battle Road and London Road in St. Leonards. Surrounding the site is a mix of residential and commercial properties including, Asda to the north west, Barclays bank to the north-east, and Silverhill shopping area to the east. The property itself houses Martel Colour Print, a small independent digital printing business.
Members were updated on further information:-
· Image of a face (Robert Tressell) mounted on the external side wall of Martell Colour Print.
· Approx. 3.5m x 2.5m.
· It is a single point perspective piece which only 'reads' as a face from one angle, and from other angles doesn't appear to be anything significant other than a framework on a wall.
Members were shown plans, photographs and elevations of the application site.
Mrs Meppem referred to the comments from the Highways Authority, she said they had stated the proposal would create a driver distraction and cause additional hazards at that junction. Concern was raised as this junction is a persistent collision site and the art installation proposed has the potential to create further distraction. This risk was considered to be a severe impact and they had recommended that the application be refused on safety grounds.
She said the agent had been asked if the scheme could be amended to a single face or mural, this request was declined.
Councillor Street said they had requested that a representative from the Highways Authority attend this meeting, unfortunately no one was available to attend to provide clarification.
Ms Tina Morris, petitioner, spoke in support of the application. She said the application was part of the Coastal Currents Arts Festival and the artwork will be supplied by the Arts Council as a tribute to Robert Tressell. She said junctions were seen as a good place for public art and public monuments which were proven to slow traffic down e.g. the Angel of the North and Piccadilly Circus. The artwork will be positioned 7.4m above ground and will not be in the sight line of drivers. Set back against a building the artwork will not glint or glare, it will be built from materials that are not flashing or colourful. Asda is a few meters away. She said the artwork will beautify the area.
Ms Morris said they had spent two months looking at other sites and had identified 6 or 7 potential locations, this was the most suitable. She said they wanted to put the artwork in this ward to give the opportunity to a deprived area. Ms Morris said that the artwork would not be illuminated. They had reduced the size of the artwork by a third to make smaller. She said they would install a plaque below the artwork.
Councillor Street said if the artwork was painted as a mural it would not need planning permission so why did they choose this format? Ms Morris said it was part of the festival to break new boundaries and create new pieces.
Jon Tyrrell, applicant and production manager, was present and spoke in support of the application, he said the artwork will be 2.4m by 1.67m, mounted 7m high on the building. The materials will be non-reflective matt. He referred to examples of other artwork that had been granted e.g. Piccadilly Circus which has moving images and The Angel of the North which is 54m wide and 20m high and is seen by 1 person every second. He said traffic passing through Sedlescome junction will be travelling at modest speed, drivers will see the artwork from Battle Road and Sedlescombe heading south. He referred to the concern expressed by the Highways Authority and said a risk assessment will be submitted prior to the works going ahead. The work will be undertaken locally and covered by insurance. Mr Tyrrell said the dimensions stated in the officers report are when the application was submitted, the artwork has since been reduced to a smaller size. 2.4m high by 1.67m wide.
Mrs Meppem explained the Highways Officer had said that flat face artwork may be acceptable. She said the suggested amendment was not accepted by the applicant. Details of the other sites that were considered were not submitted by the applicant. No safety audit has been undertaken to demonstrate this will address the concerns raised by the Highways Officer.
The Planning Services Manager explained that this piece of street signage is unique in that it is more of a puzzle and does not reveal itself until you are in front of it.
The Principal Solicitor advised members to consider this application on its own merits. She said there had been a clear strong objection from ESCC Highways. Members were asked to bear in mind that whilst there were other examples around the Country, there was no evidence to say that this particular artwork in this particular location will prove to calm traffic rather than distract it. Unless we had evidence to contradict the objection from ESCC Highways we were open to legal challenge.
Councillor Beaver proposed a motion to refuse the application as set out in the resolution below. This was seconded by Councillor Clarke.
RESOLVED – by (6 votes to 3 against) that planning permission be refused for the following reason:-
The proposed artwork would constitute a distraction to the drivers of vehicles using the adjacent section of Sedlescombe Road South [C664] and Battle Road [B2159] resulting in severe highway impacts. The development is therefore considered contrary to Policy DM3 of the Hastings Development Management Plan, T3 of the Hastings Planning Strategy and Paragraph 32 and 67 of the National Planning Policy Framework.
Note to the Applicant
Statement of positive engagement: In dealing with this application Hastings Borough Council has actively sought to work with the applicant in a positive and proactive manner, in accordance with paragraphs 186 and 187 of the National Planning Policy Framework.