A MODEL castle planted on a Wallingford roundabout could distract drivers, a county councillor has warned.
The 6ft-high metal castle has been placed on the St Leonard’s Square roundabout by town council parks staff as a flower planter.
But the roundabout is in the conservation area and the structure should be removed, says county councillor Lynda Atkins, who is also a town councillor.
Les Adlam, 61, of Look-in Gents’ Hairdressing in St Leonard’s Square, said he saw parks staff install the castle about a week ago.
He said: “It does look very odd.
“I have been here for 27 years and this is the first time I have ever seen anything like it.
“The parks and gardens people put it up but I’m not sure why – it looks like someone had a bit of time to kill, made the castle and put it there.
“It’s the first time we have had a castle on the roundabout and our customers think it is very odd.
“I think it looks like a portable loo with crenellations and I have put my England flag on it to brighten the place up during the World Cup.”
Tony Ginn, the landlord of the Coachmaker’s Arms pub in St Mary’s Street, said: “The castle is certainly a talking point – it’s 6ft tall and battlefield grey and suddenly appeared.
“I thought someone had put it there as a joke.”
Miss Atkins said: “I don’t know whether this planter is meant to be Wallingford Castle or the tower of St Mary’s Church, but it looks quite weird and I think it could distract drivers.”
Wallingford Castle Gardens are now on the site of Wallingford Castle, which was built by William the Conqueror in 1071 and demolished by Oliver Cromwell in 1652.
Miss Atkins added: “The roundabout is in a conservation area and the castle looks ugly and cheap. I would like to see it removed.”
Town clerk Jamie Baskeyfield said: “The town council has been dressing the mini-roundabout in St Leonard’s Square with floral displays for a number of years.
“Parks staff have been looking to enhance the display so they brought in this flower planter.”
Mr Baskeyfield said town councillors did not oversee every decision made by parks staff.
He added: “We can’t run every single decision past councillors and the parks staff are left to get on with it.
“Ros Lester, who is chairman of the parks and open spaces committee, is very positive about this but if any town councillors have a problem with it we will address that accordingly.”
Mrs Lester said: “The planter was made by one of the parks staff so I don’t think it cost the council any money and I think it’s fabulous.
“I don’t think it will distract drivers – the England flag is more of a distraction.”
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