Obelisk damage is bad for the town

PUBLISHED: 10:30 05 June 2009 | UPDATED: 11:07 10 June 2010

ORCOMBE Point s famous stone obelisk is to be repaired in time for the summer season - a year after yobs knocked lumps out of it and defaced the information boards.

ORCOMBE Point's famous stone obelisk is to be repaired in time for the summer season - a year after yobs knocked lumps out of it and defaced the information boards.

The specially commissioned Geoneedle marks the western gateway of the 95-mile Jurassic Coastline, England's first World Heritage Site.

Unveiled in 2002, by HRH Prince of Wales, the needle represents the natural geological history of the area and is one of two - the other is at Durlston Castle near Swanage.

But in spring 2008 the needle was vandalised with a blunt instrument, before being bizarrely 'patched' with filler, with the text on the information boards torn off.

One regular visitor, Michael Pentreath, said it was 'inconceivable' that such an important monument was left in such a bad condition for so long.

He said: "I have visited the monument several times in the last few months, each time hoping to see it would be put in good order for the 2009 season.

"The information boards (are) still missing and crude words scrawled on their stands. The damage to the side of the monument is still covered with rough blobs of concrete.

"Some organisation must have designed and erected the monument and must take responsibility for keeping it in good order, despite the wear and tear of the holiday crowd who use the coastal path at this point."

He said he was writing to the director of South West Tourism, Malcolm Bell: "I believe he would be shocked to see the monument, and the unfavourable impression it would give visitors."

The Geoneedle is made from nine different stones, the same as those embedded in the rock strata and a spokesman for Devon County Council said: "We have had some trouble sourcing the correct stone to make these repairs."

She subsequently added: "The 'filler' looking repairs weren't carried out by us and are considered to be part of the damage.

"Our contractors have been inspecting the Geoneedle and may indeed have completed repairs already?

"Meanwhile, we hope to replace the panels this year. Details are still being worked on, but we are certainly looking at a more sustainable and vandal-proof alternative to what was there previously.

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