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Safety fears scupper public display plans for ‘Haverhill Head’ sculpture

The Haverhill head as pictured last July at Samuel Ward Academy. Head of art Neil Williams is farthest right. ENGANL00520130715130744

The Haverhill head as pictured last July at Samuel Ward Academy. Head of art Neil Williams is farthest right. ENGANL00520130715130744

Health and safety fears have scuppered plans to place the ‘Haverhill Head’ sculpture on public display in the centre of the town.

The metal sculpture would have stood eight feet high once placed on its plinth and would have included monitors placed in each eye socket from which public information would have been broadcast.

Its concept was the brainchild of Neil Williams, head of art at Samuel Ward Academy, where students have been working on the project for almost three years with a view to it ultimately going on display in the town centre.

At last Thursday’s (April 17) Haverhill Area Working Party (HAWP) meeting councillors were shocked to learn that this will not now happen after structural engineers were unable to provide it with a safety certificate - unless each piece of metal is taken off and tested separately.

It will now be kept in a secure area at Samuel Ward Academy.

HAWP member, Cllr Maureen Byrne, said she was initially ‘speechless’ at the announcement and questioned why the head was not risk assessed by a structural engineer while being constructed.

She added: “I think it was something that was overlooked, sadly. However, being an optimist by nature if it has to be sited at Samuel Ward for the time being then so be it.

“I don’t see this as a failure as such, it’s a failure currently that it failed to provide what it should have been providing but let’s see if we can’t incorporate it into any future development in town because the borough and county councils have thousands of pounds they have not yet spent on the High Street.

“I think the students have done a fantastic job. It’s very clever and artistic and I would like to thank Mr Williams for his continued artistic input.

“It’s just unfortunate that no-one thought to have a structural engineer involved at an early stage.”

 

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