Why embellish the perfect?

PUBLISHED: 09:55 06 December 2008 | UPDATED: 10:08 10 June 2010

REGARDING a plan for a frivolous folly along Budleigh Salterton seafront. Last week, Michael Ahearne s letter in your paper urged individuals concerned about Christine Lee s artistic creation to remain open-minded until they had viewed the artist s impr

REGARDING a plan for a frivolous folly along Budleigh Salterton seafront.Last week, Michael Ahearne's letter in your paper urged individuals concerned about Christine Lee's artistic 'creation' to remain open-minded until they had viewed the artist's impressions in the museum. But it is irrelevant to ask residents whether they find her sculptural 'vision' attractive or hideous; much more relevant to ask whether any such installation should be erected anywhere along the Budleigh Salterton coastline.Ms Lee refers to her piece of public art as 'uplifting'. Great sculpture in urban public spaces can indeed be 'uplifting', but why would anyone consider this idyllic stretch of the Jurassic Coast needs 'enhancement'. After all, it did not require any man-made adornment to achieve the designation Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.Residents who object to certain types of development in Budleigh are often portrayed by their detractors as old-fashioned, unsophisticated and resistant to change. These pejorative labels betray a smug arrogance on the part of a self-interested minority, who seem incapable of accepting that many people live here because they cherish the unique unspoilt vistas, enjoy the old-fashioned ambiance, and relish the responsibility of being custodians of this landscape, conserving it for the delight of future generations. If the supporters of unnecessary new development are so dissatisfied with our town the way it is, why live here? Instead of campaigning to undermine the very attributes which make Budleigh special, why not relocate to a more 'progressive' town which may better suit their lifestyle aspirations? There are plenty to choose from with glitzy bars and upmarket eateries, identikit retail chains and commercialised seafronts, with the requisite homogeneous new architecture and public art. But if they do move, they may realise too late that these kitschy places, while great fun to visit, are not so gratifying to live in, day in day out.East Devon Pebble Project's proposal for embellishing Budleigh Salterton's already perfect coastline with obtrusive public art seems frivolous, gratuitous and pointless; they could better 'celebrate' our coast by campaigning to protect its natural beauty from despoliation by any unnecessary development, whether houses, cafes, or sculptures.Mike Fairclough (in his letter last week commenting on the Asda debate) said that, in a democracy, it is the 'people who speak, they are the ones who determine our collective destiny', a sentiment also pertinent to this proposal for public sculpture in Budleigh.To continue his theme, remaining part of a 'silent majority' will only assist the realisation of this project, so anyone horrified at the prospect of a precedent being set for further follies to be built along the currently unadulterated Budleigh Salterton seafront should make their voice heard before it is too late.A Greenfield,(via email).


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