New sculpture an a-peeling addition for town shoppers

Herald Series: Di Chesterman, president of the Didcot Chamber of Commerce, stands by the new sculpture being put in by the steps at the Orchard Centre Buy this photo Di Chesterman, president of the Didcot Chamber of Commerce, stands by the new sculpture being put in by the steps at the Orchard Centre

SHOPPERS gave the nod of approval to a £85,000 sculpture unveiled in Didcot town centre.

The Swirl was lifted in by crane at the top of the Orchard Centre steps on Sunday night.

Residents and shoppers said six-metre stainless steel sculpture as “modern art” and “talking point” for the town, but some questioned the cost.

London artist Maria Rosa Kramer was commissioned by South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) to reflect the site’s one-time use as an orchard.

It represents the peeling skin of an apple with one side of the stainless steel ribbon polished to a mirror finish, while the other is painted red.

Herald Series:

  • It is quite a nice and modern piece of art. It reminds you of an apple peel as there did used to be an orchard here - Tina Williams, 58, from Abingdon

Visiting for the day, Greater Leys resident Sylvia Houlton said: “It is very nice and modern.

“It makes the buildings in the background look a lot better, otherwise it is just a load of bricks.”

Henley-on-Thames’ Diane Woodford said: “It is a nice focus point that takes away the plain-ness and gives it a bit of character – it looks quite elegant.”

But Great Western Park resident Dawn Warner, 51, said: “It is a waste of money really, they could have spent it on something more important.

Herald Series:

  • It brightens up Didcot a bit. But it is in a bit of an odd place – it should be at the bottom of the steps - Tom Peck, 17, from Chilton

“It is not anything children can play on, it just stands there.”

Robert Dyas store manager Sam Chamberlain said: “It is different and it ties in with the Orchard Centre well. I think it works well with the shops.”

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New Look store manager Ellie Shepherd added: “I really like it because it is modern and striking, Didcot needs prettifying a bit.”

Yet she said the town really needs a hoped-for extension to the centre, announced in 2011 but has yet to materialise.

Herald Series:

  • I’m not that big on it, it seems a bit random and imposing. It should be meaningful and maybe designed by children - Laura Wigley, 39, from Didcot

Most of the funding for the sculpture came from Orchard Centre developer Taylor Woodrow, SODC’s Didcot Growth Fund and Hammerson, the centre leaseholder.

It will be officially unveiled on April 26 from noon with final details yet to be announced.

Didcot Chamber of Commerce president Di Chesterman said: “It is great that Didcot has a piece of significant public art that is going to be a talking point for the future.”

Council arts development officer Miranda Laurence said: “I think it captures the spirit of the recent history of the Orchard Centre really well, while also creating something that looks contemporary and will I hope be enjoyed for many years to come.

Herald Series:

  • I like the shape of it, and the colour – the  red is nice and bright. It has a good shine to it - Jack Tolley, 16, from Ladygrove in Didcot

“We’ve had a really good response from the public already who've seen it and I’m looking forward to seeing people react with it soon.”

Comments (6)

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1:35pm Wed 16 Apr 14

EMBOX2 says...

I think a sculpture of Didcot A would have been more appropriate. Ask anyone what Didcot is famous for and that's the answer, not orchards which were all out at Harwell (mainly) and all got pulled up decades ago.
I think a sculpture of Didcot A would have been more appropriate. Ask anyone what Didcot is famous for and that's the answer, not orchards which were all out at Harwell (mainly) and all got pulled up decades ago. EMBOX2
  • Score: 9

4:00pm Wed 16 Apr 14

hagar1 says...

Any chance we might see a picture of it?
Any chance we might see a picture of it? hagar1
  • Score: 7

2:06pm Thu 17 Apr 14

piper2011 says...

its a waste of money, if that is meant to be apple peel the 'designer' and i use that term loosely, failed. my six year old granddaughter could do a much better job. i think the planting of REAL apple trees would have been of more benefit and would have cost a lot less than £85,000.
its a waste of money, if that is meant to be apple peel the 'designer' and i use that term loosely, failed. my six year old granddaughter could do a much better job. i think the planting of REAL apple trees would have been of more benefit and would have cost a lot less than £85,000. piper2011
  • Score: 7

4:33pm Thu 17 Apr 14

ericparrott says...

Whoever sanctioned spending £86000 needs their head read. Why not put this sort of money into something to keep the youngsters "off the streets "during school hols and late at night. As for locals liking it I noticed that the first people shown were not from Didcot. The councillors that agreed this eyesore should be made to pay from their own pockets. Just my opinion .
Whoever sanctioned spending £86000 needs their head read. Why not put this sort of money into something to keep the youngsters "off the streets "during school hols and late at night. As for locals liking it I noticed that the first people shown were not from Didcot. The councillors that agreed this eyesore should be made to pay from their own pockets. Just my opinion . ericparrott
  • Score: 9

1:25am Sat 19 Apr 14

hesperus says...

Ugly monstrosity sums it up. Total waste of money. It adds nothing to the Orchard centre. A nice clock like that once proposed would have been cheaper and far more attractive and useful.
Ugly monstrosity sums it up. Total waste of money. It adds nothing to the Orchard centre. A nice clock like that once proposed would have been cheaper and far more attractive and useful. hesperus
  • Score: 7

4:59pm Wed 23 Apr 14

fairy godmother says...

Another waste of tax payers/ council tax money, put every ones bills up again and it will be paid for in no time......
Another waste of tax payers/ council tax money, put every ones bills up again and it will be paid for in no time...... fairy godmother
  • Score: 1

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