Outcry over changes to town centre sculpture

Swans in Swan Walk where water has been replaced with glass SUS-161130-145701001
Swans in Swan Walk where water has been replaced with glass SUS-161130-145701001

Controversy has erupted - again - over a major piece of public art on display in Horsham town centre.

An iconic bronze sculpture of swans in Swan Walk shopping mall has had running water at the foot of the sculpture replaced with illuminated glass.

And the removal of the water has been met with anger and cries of ‘shame.’ Controversy first erupted over the sculpture back in 2007 when the entire artwork was removed suddenly from the shopping centre.

A public outcry followed and the sculpture was finally returned the following year. Now public anger has erupted again over the removal of water from the water feature.

Horsham councillor Christine Costin said: “ What a shame that this magnificent sculpture by Lorne McKean has lost the very thing that brought it to life.

“It was a fantastic sculpture, so natural, you could just imagine the swans coming into land. Now it is not the same. We have already lost the Shelley Fountain which was by another major artist.

“Towns are judged by their appearance and this is not good for the town.” And she added: “Horsham seems unable to manage the gentle pleasures of trickling or splashing water features.”

But Swan Walk centre manager Gill Buchanan said the running water was permanently removed over a year ago following pump failures and risks around “customer safety, particularly that of our younger visitors who frequently ran their fingers through the water.

“The safety of our customers is a priority for us all at Swan Walk and we have since been working hard to find an appropriate and creative solution for the base.”

She said plans to install the glass and lighting had received “unanimous support” and she was “delighted with the results” following completion last week.