Feargal Sharkey Isn’t Impressed With Golden Wave Sculpt For River Cam


Former pop star Feargal Sharkey, who is now an environmental activist, has slammed a proposal to install a new golden wave sculpture on the banks of the River Cam.

The avid fisherman, who campaigns for cleaner and safer rivers, took to social media to complain about the scheme.

To The River, Cambridge City Council’s proposed art project

He said on Twitter: “Did I mention this is all getting more surreal by the day? The River Cam is a chalk stream, it is being killed due to over-exploitation and pollution. Response (from Cambridge City Council)? Cover part of the bank with a gold metal “work of art” to make it look pretty. Give me strength.”

He was responding to a message from Friends of the Cam which said he questioned the ‘advisability’ of the council ‘using developer funding to adorn part of the riverbank while ignoring the impact that development uncontrolled raptor has on the river by increased withdrawals and pollution”.

The artwork, called To The River, is funded by Public Art S106 contributions from the developers, which were negotiated specifically for public art and cannot be used for anything else.

The city council has just held a public consultation on the project, as previously indicated.

spooky sharkey
spooky sharkey

The artwork will be engraved with a Cambridge Lace pattern, paying homage to feminine influences on the river; from the anonymous laundresses who gave nearby Laundress Green its name, to the specific lace pattern used on Cambridge University dresses, to the artist Gwen Raverat (1885-1957 granddaughter of Charles Darwin), who engraved works of art from its vantage point overlooking this site.

Cllr Anna Smith, Leader of Cambridge City Council, said: “We recognize that the chalk streams of Greater Cambridge, including the Cam, are valuable parts of our natural environment. They are home to a huge range of species, are important for our drinking water and we know that many are degraded and under pressure. This is why we are working with our partners on restoration, enhancement and protection work and have commissioned a study to help us shape future policies and approaches.

“Last week, together with our partners, we highlighted the importance of improving our chalk streams in our response to Water Resources East’s new 50-year water management plan. Last month, a plan to deliver projects that make local chalk streams and the species they support more resilient was submitted to the Combined Authority by Greater Cambridge Shared Planning – a partnership between South Cambridgeshire District and the Cambridge City Councils – and council members agreed that £420,000 would be made available by the Combined Authority, subject to additional checks such as value for money assurances being passed.

“All of this work, and more, is being done because we recognize the importance of the Cam and our chalk streams and the fact that action is needed.”

Commenting on the public artwork To The River, Cllr Smith added: “To The River recognizes the importance of the river in a different way. It was commissioned in 2018 in response to members of the community suggesting an artwork reflecting the role of the river in the formation of Cambridge and so far it has been a highly collaborative project.

“The artist’s initial research and feasibility work identified the proposed site and how the art would aesthetically enhance the current engineered sheet metal structure, but also create opportunities to enhance views for those using Mill Pond , Laundress Green and Silver Street Bridge.

Read more

Feargal Sharkey: “Water companies must pay to solve the wastewater crisis”

Feargal Sharkey condemns failure to tackle sewage dumping in our rivers


Comments are closed.