Artwork ‘worn in just months’

Wigan Council planning officer Chris Leather, Coun Myra Whiteside, pupils from Bedford High School, Nick Burdekin from Wigan in Bloom and Stewart McGarrie from Old Leigh Photographs unveiling the sculptures in Leigh town centre last year
Wigan Council planning officer Chris Leather, Coun Myra Whiteside, pupils from Bedford High School, Nick Burdekin from Wigan in Bloom and Stewart McGarrie from Old Leigh Photographs unveiling the sculptures in Leigh town centre last year

Concerns have been raised after the deteriorating condition of artwork installed in Leigh town centre less than a year ago.

Metal panels showcasing local history and wildlife were installed on the central reservation on Market Street in the autumn.

The artwork now

The artwork now

Leigh town centre management group worked with Bedford High School pupils, the In Bloom group at Wigan Council and Stewart McGarrie, who runs the Old Leigh Photographs group on Facebook, to create the seven metal panels celebrating the town’s past and its natural beauty.

But just months later, the black paint is peeling off and rust is showing on the metal panels.

Leigh resident David Hull contacted the Observer to voice his concerns about the artwork.

He said he was impressed with the panels when they were first installed.

It’s not lasted a year, which is really, really bad

David Hull

“It was absolutely marvellous, the metal and the artist that they employed. I thought it was marvellously cut and the designs were wonderful,” he said.

But he claims the metal was already rusting and only one coat of paint was used on the metal panels, which he believes was not enough.

Now the paint is peeling off and the panels already look worn.

Mr Hull said: “It’s not lasted a year, which is really, really bad.”

He wants the artwork to be removed and repaired, with extra work carried out, including a protective coating to make it stronger when faced by the elements.

Mr Hull,who lives on Gordon Street, said: “Whoever created that is very talented and if I was the person who created that and saw the state it is in after one year, I would be beside myself.”

The artwork was funded by the council last year as part of an investment drive to spruce up Leigh town centre.

The central reservation where the panels are placed was resurfaced and the council’s In Bloom group tackled weeds in the surrounding areas.

A wicker structure previously on the central reservation was moved to Lilford Park.

Coun Myra Whiteside, chairman of Leigh town centre management group, said she was not aware of the problem with the artwork when contacted by the Observer.

She said: “I’m really upset about it. I hadn’t noticed and I will look into it.”