Roundabout model castle under siege as a hazard

MINI MONUMENT: The castle in the middle of the roundabout

MINI MONUMENT: The castle in the middle of the roundabout

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Didcot and Wallingford. Call me on 01865 425425

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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Comments (16)

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4:29pm Wed 18 Jun 14

H.J.Harris says...

For goodness sake, don't let's risk doing anything different .
For goodness sake, don't let's risk doing anything different . H.J.Harris
  • Score: 19

4:33pm Wed 18 Jun 14

PeterM says...

Maybe the councillors that object should travel to Dorking in Surrey. They have two roundabouts with 'structures' on, one a giant cockeral and the other two bicycles put up for the Olympics in 2012.

Maybe the drivers in Surrey are more proficient and less likely to be distracted.
Maybe the councillors that object should travel to Dorking in Surrey. They have two roundabouts with 'structures' on, one a giant cockeral and the other two bicycles put up for the Olympics in 2012. Maybe the drivers in Surrey are more proficient and less likely to be distracted. PeterM
  • Score: 22

4:53pm Wed 18 Jun 14

jochta says...

Looks fine to me. Maybe the councillors would be better off using their energy to get some of the roads in Wallingford resurfaced. e.g. Station Road near to the fire station and at the junctions with Croft Road and St George's Road is an utter disgrace and dangerous for cyclists.
Looks fine to me. Maybe the councillors would be better off using their energy to get some of the roads in Wallingford resurfaced. e.g. Station Road near to the fire station and at the junctions with Croft Road and St George's Road is an utter disgrace and dangerous for cyclists. jochta
  • Score: 21

8:27pm Wed 18 Jun 14

JepW48 says...

The Wallingford Parks people do an absolutely fantastic job in our beautiful town.The Castle on St.Leonards Square is a delight and so obviously the Castle. Well done to the maker and to the Parks people for putting it there amongst the wonderful flowers. Please keep it, it is fantastic and definitely not a traffic distraction at all.
The Wallingford Parks people do an absolutely fantastic job in our beautiful town.The Castle on St.Leonards Square is a delight and so obviously the Castle. Well done to the maker and to the Parks people for putting it there amongst the wonderful flowers. Please keep it, it is fantastic and definitely not a traffic distraction at all. JepW48
  • Score: 21

9:34pm Wed 18 Jun 14

Sim Collins says...

The first time I saw the castle, I thought what a great idea to brighten up the town, & was hoping to see more as I drove through , thinking it might be something to do with the carnival, obviously not the case, & it didn't take long for somebody to put the mockers on it, let's KEEP the castle!
The first time I saw the castle, I thought what a great idea to brighten up the town, & was hoping to see more as I drove through , thinking it might be something to do with the carnival, obviously not the case, & it didn't take long for somebody to put the mockers on it, let's KEEP the castle! Sim Collins
  • Score: 20

10:06pm Wed 18 Jun 14

LeeUpcraft says...

Three cheers for the local parks and garden staff. Any of them want to take out front page press articles accusing the work of the County Councillor as "ugly and cheap"? I suspect they're a whole lot more dignified....

http://www.ukipwanta
ge.org/blog/?p=41
Three cheers for the local parks and garden staff. Any of them want to take out front page press articles accusing the work of the County Councillor as "ugly and cheap"? I suspect they're a whole lot more dignified.... http://www.ukipwanta ge.org/blog/?p=41 LeeUpcraft
  • Score: 14

11:02pm Wed 18 Jun 14

RoHind says...

Of all the things that could distract drivers...... I'm sure there is many a young driver more easily distracted by a member of the opposite sex than this castle will manage!
Maybe the councilor should start campaigning to bring back people with flags walking in front of cars, or as another comment getting the dangerous pot holes fixed!
Of all the things that could distract drivers...... I'm sure there is many a young driver more easily distracted by a member of the opposite sex than this castle will manage! Maybe the councilor should start campaigning to bring back people with flags walking in front of cars, or as another comment getting the dangerous pot holes fixed! RoHind
  • Score: 12

10:26am Thu 19 Jun 14

sevs73 says...

I think Mr Adlam parking on double yellows outside his barber shop is probably more dangerous??
I think Mr Adlam parking on double yellows outside his barber shop is probably more dangerous?? sevs73
  • Score: 13

10:29am Thu 19 Jun 14

Sandie_E says...

No seriously - this is front page news? Our house faces on to the square and we love the castle! So it's a conservation area: does that mean we have to take everything so seriously? Can't a bit of street art just be fun? And as for it being a distraction - I've seen plenty people drive the wrong way around the roundabout when there were no 'distractions' on it so that's plain daft.
If they take our castle away I might just have to yarn-bomb the lamp post in protest - that'll give 'em something to talk about ;-)
No seriously - this is front page news? Our house faces on to the square and we love the castle! So it's a conservation area: does that mean we have to take everything so seriously? Can't a bit of street art just be fun? And as for it being a distraction - I've seen plenty people drive the wrong way around the roundabout when there were no 'distractions' on it so that's plain daft. If they take our castle away I might just have to yarn-bomb the lamp post in protest - that'll give 'em something to talk about ;-) Sandie_E
  • Score: 17

11:10am Thu 19 Jun 14

Neonlights says...

It's no different to the monstrosity in the middle of the roundabout by the Esso garage that takes you off to Tesco, or the Fairacres Retail Park in Abingdon.
It's no different to the monstrosity in the middle of the roundabout by the Esso garage that takes you off to Tesco, or the Fairacres Retail Park in Abingdon. Neonlights
  • Score: 5

11:52am Thu 19 Jun 14

piper2011 says...

great job parkies, and a huge thanks for all your hard work, our towns floral displays are always a joy. Miss atkins go away and sort the pot holes out please, is there nothing more in your life than whining, in fact why dont you and your lazy lot roll up your sleeves and show us you can do a better job than the parkies ( yes even in the rain, cold and heat)
great job parkies, and a huge thanks for all your hard work, our towns floral displays are always a joy. Miss atkins go away and sort the pot holes out please, is there nothing more in your life than whining, in fact why dont you and your lazy lot roll up your sleeves and show us you can do a better job than the parkies ( yes even in the rain, cold and heat) piper2011
  • Score: 12

1:43pm Thu 19 Jun 14

camden says...

Strange though that in the case of the advertising signs that companies have to pay a fee to the council, and can be seen on roundabouts all over the county are not distracting to drivers, but a castle for which I imagine no fee has been paid are. This is not about driver distraction, it's the council's way of saying "cross our palm with silver, the distraction issue will disappear, and we will say no more about it"
Strange though that in the case of the advertising signs that companies have to pay a fee to the council, and can be seen on roundabouts all over the county are not distracting to drivers, but a castle for which I imagine no fee has been paid are. This is not about driver distraction, it's the council's way of saying "cross our palm with silver, the distraction issue will disappear, and we will say no more about it" camden
  • Score: 12

4:46pm Thu 19 Jun 14

woodhg says...

It’s a rather sad reflection on our town that we can’t celebrate a bit of individual initiative and quirkiness; it’s yet another story of “Wallingford says NO to everything”. We should be pleased that someone has spent hours thinking creatively about jollying up a rather dull traffic island. As I live opposite our new castle it frankly makes for a rather nicer aspect. Using the convenient catchalls of “conservation area, danger to drivers etc.” to squash any creativity seems to me a rather lazy way of criticising something which is a bit different and not “officially” sanctioned. How many accidents have been caused by Banksy murals or the Angel of the North – not many I would guess? The town is struggling to project an identity and criticising this type of personal contribution and artisanship just makes for a far duller place. It’s just a bit of “safe” fun for pity’s sake.;)
It’s a rather sad reflection on our town that we can’t celebrate a bit of individual initiative and quirkiness; it’s yet another story of “Wallingford says NO to everything”. We should be pleased that someone has spent hours thinking creatively about jollying up a rather dull traffic island. As I live opposite our new castle it frankly makes for a rather nicer aspect. Using the convenient catchalls of “conservation area, danger to drivers etc.” to squash any creativity seems to me a rather lazy way of criticising something which is a bit different and not “officially” sanctioned. How many accidents have been caused by Banksy murals or the Angel of the North – not many I would guess? The town is struggling to project an identity and criticising this type of personal contribution and artisanship just makes for a far duller place. It’s just a bit of “safe” fun for pity’s sake.;) woodhg
  • Score: 16

11:57pm Thu 19 Jun 14

maxidress says...

I can't wait for the full effect when the sweet peas scale the walls and enhance this lovely contribution to the town. Please let's thank the parkies for another fab job. I look forward to the displays around the town and have never been dissappointed. Remember there is only 3 staff working all weathers keeping wallingford a nice place to visit. So let's not slag them off but big them up. Thanks guys.
I can't wait for the full effect when the sweet peas scale the walls and enhance this lovely contribution to the town. Please let's thank the parkies for another fab job. I look forward to the displays around the town and have never been dissappointed. Remember there is only 3 staff working all weathers keeping wallingford a nice place to visit. So let's not slag them off but big them up. Thanks guys. maxidress
  • Score: 16

10:12am Fri 20 Jun 14

Sir Tainly Knott says...

Looks great to me but, being in a Conservation Area, shouldn't the Planning Department need to give permission for a castle to be build. I'm sure it must be English Heritage Grade 1.
Looks great to me but, being in a Conservation Area, shouldn't the Planning Department need to give permission for a castle to be build. I'm sure it must be English Heritage Grade 1. Sir Tainly Knott
  • Score: 8

5:20pm Fri 20 Jun 14

oafie says...

It is very nice yes...but that helps prove the point that it is a distraction....serio
usly folks, if you're driving, you should be looking at the road/cars/pedestrian
s etc
It is very nice yes...but that helps prove the point that it is a distraction....serio usly folks, if you're driving, you should be looking at the road/cars/pedestrian s etc oafie
  • Score: -10

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