Glenrothes town art row flares up again after another sculpture goes walkabout

A row over the relocation of town art in Glenrothes seems set to rumble on after another sculpture was moved at the weekend.

Area services manager Kevin Sayer said the pieces of art were about 40 years old and located in several different areas in the town. “In December last year a decision was taken by the local area committee to relocate six pieces, including the dinosaur and the horse and chariot, to more prominent positions,” he said.

“Those chosen needed to be repaired due to vandalism or wear and tear. The committee report noted the favourable public feedback generated by the movement of the hippos and mushrooms, which were ‘saved’ when the Tanshall maisonettes were demolished.

“The aim was to bring the town art to the attention of visitors and get people talking about them. Feedback from the public would then be used to help decide if other pieces of town art should be moved.

“I acknowledge that some residents are not in favour of the moves but other residents have made positive comments to me and to other officers about the new positions for the pieces. I will be writing to Mrs Marwick to invite her to a meeting to discuss and agree a way forward.”

Despite that, Mrs Marwick said the artwork appears not to have been repaired, nor been subject to vandalism of any great degree in any case.

“The very fact that they’ve been there for over 40 years and have not been vandalised shows the sheer affection communities have for them,” she said. “I came to the town in 1975 and my kids grew up with all the animals, as did a generation of school kids because they are the ones who did it.”

The Courier reported how a well-loved dinosaur sculpture, known as Rexie, was two weeks ago moved from Waverley Drive to Caskieberran roundabout to the dismay of residents with a protest song even written about the issue.

That move sparked anger from town MSP Tricia Marwick, who was assured by Fife Council the relocation would not go ahead until the public were fully consulted. However, in the last few days the Horse and Chariot sculpture in Caskieberran has been moved.

This has infuriated Mrs Marwick who has campaigned on behalf of Glenrothes residents to ensure their town art is protected and remains at the heart of their communities.

She said, “This latest decision by Fife Council officials shows they are treating the people of Caskieberran with total contempt. I was contacted by numerous residents of Waverley Drive who cannot believe their sculptures are being removed from their community in this manner. This is simply unacceptable.

“I would have thought Fife Council would have realised the anger there is among the people of Glenrothes about their decision to remove our town art following the numerous representations I have made to them, the 150-plus petition delivered to their officials and subsequent local media coverage on this matter.

“The people of Glenrothes must have their say about the long-term future of these sculptures. I demand that Fife Council do a full consultation into this with our townsfolk and then agree to return these much-loved sculptures to their rightful homes.”

Glenrothes area committee agreed in December that six pieces of public artwork had been identified for repair and relocation by the council, including sculptures depicting giant hands, a picture frame, a giant mushroom, and elephants.

Glenrothes has nearly 150 pieces of public art scattered throughout the town and, in taking the decision, Fife Council stressed that some of the artworks had deteriorated over the years owing to age and vandalism.