In 2007 the borough council set up a steering committee to review options for an item of public art in Park Street. The committee – on which residents were represented – held its first meeting on 19th March that year. After considering a range of concepts, such as this water feature (which was rejected because of the likelihood of ‘mischief-makers’),
the eventual design was the one we now see – ‘The Right Way’, by Rick Kirby. For this, the draft budget was £50,000
Here is the artwork still in the workshop. (An aside. Something relevant to these gender-neutral days is that the artist was asked to make the figures a little less ‘feminine’ before the work was completed. Hence the current somewhat androgynous metal trio!)
Anyway, getting to the point at last. In February 2018, the borough council advertised: “Surrey Heath Borough Council (SHBC) wishes to commission a public artist to design, fabricate and install one or more contextually sensitive artworks to be integrated into the refurbishment of High Street, Princess Way and Knoll Walk in Camberley Town Centre. The total value of the commission is expected to be up to £80k depending on the design and how it integrates with the rest of the refurbishment.” We’d argue that this project seems pretty similar in size to the 2007 initiative. Yet, have residents been involved in any way? As far as we can tell, they haven’t. We MIGHT like the results, but the council will have no defence if we’re critical of the outcome. Why risk having the public complain about something that’s foisted on them? Why no consultation??