Bird sculpture trail ready to take off
An Amble project to develop a national bird sculpture trail, which aims to support the creation of 30 tourism jobs, is making progress.
Amble Bord Waalk aims to create a bird-themed sculpture trail of national significance, with physical and virtual-reality models, from Druridge Bay to Warkworth, aligned with the new England Coast Path.
It will see the commissioning and design of up to 22 sculptures to be sited at key locations along the coastline from Hauxley Nature Reserve, around Amble and along the river to Warkworth.
Last year, it was announced that the project, which is being delivered by Amble Development Trust, on behalf of Amble Coastal Community Team, would receive £400,000 from the Coastal Communities Fund.
Northumberland County Council is the accountable body for the funding and at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, March 10, members agreed to include the £240,000 project in its capital programme for this year. There is also a separate revenue budget of £156,000.
This means that the sculptures, which are currently being commissioned through a design competition process, will be put in place during the summer.
The report to councillors stated that the trail ‘will celebrate the natural assets of the local area, providing a visitor resource for the whole of Northumberland’ and ‘will appeal to a wide participatory audience’.
It explains that the project will seek to support more than 60 businesses and create 30 full-time-equivalent (FTE) employment opportunities within the hospitality and retail sector.
‘By extending the tourism season, the objective is to create a minimum of 0.5 jobs within businesses, creating 30 FTE positions’, it notes.
It is envisaged that additional employment will be created within the art/creative industries in relation to the sculptures, while ‘national exposure of work will generate interest in artists’ work leading to increased ongoing sales supporting the sustainability of this sector’.
The project is also seeking to work with Sodexo, which runs HMP Northumberland, on rehabilitation skills through the maintenance of artwork.
Council leader Peter Jackson said: “Congratulations to Amble Development Trust for coming up with this exciting scheme.
“The regeneration of Amble and the surrounding area has been nothing short of astounding in recent years and this can only add to that.”
By Ben O’Connell
Local Democracy Reporter Service