Swan art ruffles a few feathers

Some people think it looks like birds on a rollercoaster, but whether you love it or loathe it, there is no doubt Lowestoft's new sculpture is causing quite a stir in the town.

Some people think it looks like birds on a rollercoaster, but whether you love it or loathe it, there is no doubt Lowestoft's new sculpture is causing quite a stir in the town.

The 7m-high stainless-steel work by sculptor Charles Normandale entitled Spirits of Lowestoft has been dubbed an "iconographic symbol" at the southern gateway of the town.

But yesterday, shoppers in Station Square were not so sure, crinkling their noses and scratching their heads as they examined the giant metal structure.

The sculpture, which depicts five Bewick swans migrating, is the latest offering of the £14.7m Waveney Sunrise Scheme which funded numerous improvements to the town, including the major revamp of the London Road North shopping precinct and the Royal Plain fountains.


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This latest project, which challenged artists from across the UK to create a landmark piece of art, cost the scheme £50,000 including a public consultation which saw local people choose Mr Normandale's design from a shortlist of four.

And yesterday, after four hours of installation work by building contractor Breheney, Mr Normandale said he was delighted with the finished piece.

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"It looks exactly as I had imagined it would," he said. "I am very happy with it.

"As Lowestoft completes this period of regeneration it will be a centre where people come and go from. Spirits of Lowestoft shows five Bewick swans, that migrate from Siberia past Lowestoft, so it is about something moving through the town bringing joy and peace," he said.

But "joy" and "peace" were not the words on the tips of all shoppers' tongues yesterday as they scrutinised the work for the first time.

Andy Makins, from Lowestoft, said: "I think it looks like seagulls on a rollercoaster, it should be at Pleasurewood Hills. And for £50,000. You could build a house for that."

But other people in the town said it brightened up the otherwise rundown area close to Lowestoft station.

John Fiske, from Corton, near Lowestoft said: "I think it is absolutely beautiful. The swans and the swoosh of it belong to the countryside and remind us we do live in a rural area. I think it's fantastic."

Even tourists took time to praise it. Iris Mountain, who was visiting from Peterborough, said: "Every year we come, the town gets better. Last year we saw the fountains built and this year this sculpture. It is beautiful and it represents the seaside. I only wish we had things like this in Peterborough."

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