Oxford Mail'Thieves will pinch roadside sculpture' (From Oxford Mail)

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  • "If the mock-up in the picture is accurate, the sculpture seems to be remarkably low, and located on an unfenced corner - a corner that many pedestrians are likely to cut, not least at night when they've had a drink. Sorry to be discouraging, but I foresee broken legs."
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Councillors' fears for £6,700 bronze

Oxford Mail: 'Thieves will pinch roadside sculpture' 'Thieves will pinch roadside sculpture'

A £6,700 bronze sculpture planned for an Oxford roadside risks being snatched as a “more exciting trophy” than traffic bollards, it has been claimed.

Oxford city councillors sounded the note of caution as the plan for the disc-shaped sculpture was approved for land at the corner of Horspath Driftway and Blackstock Close.

The metre-wide ground level bronze ring will be paid for from developer cash given as a condition of planning permission for adjacent flats.

Permission to knock down Slade Barracks Territorial Army Centre to make way for 353 student flats and 15 private flats was given in 2008.

But Labour’s Gill Sanders said of the artwork: “It will be gone in days. I wonder how secure it will be.

“It looks terribly vulnerable to me.”

Liberal Democrat David Rundle said: “This will make a more exciting trophy than a bollard taken in the middle of the night.”

Roy Darke, chairman of the council’s east area planning committee, said the work had already been commissioned from artist Melissa Cole following a consultation process.

Mr Rundle told Wednesday’s meeting at Oxford Town Hall: “This is public art. There should be more engagement in having public art in the first place.”

Of security the fears, a council report said: “Due to its location adjacent to a busy highway and residential area, it is considered that there will be significant natural surveillance of the site providing additional protection against damage by vandals or theft.”

The disc will be supported by nine spokes and welded on to a steel frame at a 20 degree angle.

Images of footprints and tyre tracks will be impressed into it “to represent past journeys” along the road.

It will also include references to the former TA centre, from the Boer War to the present.

Oxford City Council spokesman Louisa Dean said there would be more consultation with the community and the TA about what would be put on the disc.

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