New giant steel elephant planned for town roundabout

A giant steel elephant could be installed near a Colchester railway station should planners approve the scheme.

Proposals to install what has been described as an ‘innovative wayfinding sculpture’ on the Albert roundabout on Cowdray Avenue, Colchester have been submitted by the local council.

More: Have your say on this planning application 

The elephant would be part of the next phase of a project to transform the walking route from Colchester railway station to the town centre.

Cllr. Martin Goss (Lib), the Council’s Portfolio Holder for Waste, Sustainability and Infrastructure, said: “In ‘Fixing the Link’ between Colchester Railway Station and the Town Centre, we can make it easier for people to find their way from the station and enjoy a more welcoming, interesting and attractive route which is less than one mile.

“This exciting proposal not only showcases exceptional design talent, but it creates a new cultural landmark for what is an important gateway to our town.

“We know that visitors who arrive by train tend to stay longer if they have a positive experience of reaching the town centre, and we want to encourage as many people as possible to visit by train and make the most of our fantastic shops, restaurants, markets, cafés and bars, as well as the array of outstanding music and arts events.”

Designers, Dallas-Pierce-Quintero, conceived the steel structure to represent an elephant – the motif for the ‘Fixing the Link’ project – inspired by tales of Emperor Claudius’s dramatic arrival into Colchester with a herd of elephants to celebrate the victory of the Roman invasion in 43 AD.

Will Quince MP for Colchester however, appeared unconvinced at the proposals, questioning the local authority’s ‘unbelievable’ spending priorities. He said in a Facebook post “Surely this is some kind of joke? If you needed any more evidence that Colchester’s Labour / Lib Dem Council needs the boot in May, check this out.

“They claim to be at breaking point yet want a giant yellow steel elephant on a roundabout to encourage people to walk into town. £200,000 unbelievable.”

The ‘Fixing the Link’ project is being delivered by Colchester Borough Council, Essex County Council and Greater Anglia, who are jointly funding the elephant wayfinding artwork, lighting and planting scheme estimated to cost around £200,000 including engineering and design.

A breakdown of how much from each party is at this time unknown and will update this article if we receive this information.

Proposed steel elephant near Colchester railway station
The jointly funded scheme is said to cost an estimated at £200,000

To date, the “Fixing the Link” project has seen installation of a cast bronze 3D model showing the original Roman walls and gateways at Middleborough, corten steel wayfinding elephants at the Railway Station and High Street, yellow banners to highlight the route and show walking times, bronze plaques to highlight historical facts along the way, and new seating and public realm improvements at Middleborough.

Paul Wilkinson, Greater Anglia Integrated Transport Manager, said: “The Fixing the Link project is helping passengers find their way on foot to and from Colchester station as well as improving the environment for the local community. We are very pleased to be involved with the second phase of this innovative project.”

Plans for the installation will begin in spring 2019 if planning permission if obtained.