A ROW has broken out after a council decided to spend £17,600 on a sculpture to commemorate links with one of its twin towns.
Fareham Borough Council will spend the money on a modern 10ft statue to mark 50 years of the town being twinned with Vannes in France.
It is also proposing an unveiling ceremony in September at a cost of around £8,000, plus a march through the town by sailors from HMS Collingwood.
But the plans were criticised by members of the Fareham Vannes Twinning Association, which called it ‘irrelevant and inappropriate’. It says the association was not consulted about the proposal.
Ann Mellor, from the association, spoke at an executive meeting when the plans were first brought before council leader Sean Woodward.
She said: ‘We’re pleased that the council is planning a permanent reminder of the 50th anniversary of the twinning.
‘But we were disappointed that there appears to have been no consultation with the association or interested parties on the matter.’
She added: ‘We were all disappointed that planning for the event had taken place without any engagement with the association.
‘We also felt that the design of the proposed sculpture had little to do with Fareham or Vannes or the links between the two.’
But at the meeting tensions between the association and the council appeared to have settled, as the authority agreed to relocate the sculpture, which is meant to symbolise a tree with two intertwined trunks, from the Sensory Garden of Reflection and put it in the busier Westbury Manor Museum garden.
The council also agreed to revisit the design and incorporate the two towns’ shields on the plaque.
Although, this was not good enough for Ukip councillor Chris Wood, who was against any money being spent.
He said: ‘The vast majority of Fareham residents neither know or care who we are twinned with and won’t go to see this vanity project.
‘It is a complete waste of public money, which would be better spent on protecting vital services.’