Let there be light on St Helens' Dream, say ex-miners

St Helens Star: St Helens' Dream at Sutton Manor St Helens' Dream at Sutton Manor

THE squad of former miners who inspired St Helens’ spectacular Dream sculpture are hoping to get the nod to turn the lights on at the giant artwork.

The 20-metre high white sculpture was unveiled to much fanfare and media coverage earlier this summer on the site of the former Sutton Manor Colliery.

But ex-miners involved in Dream’s conception say the job is half finished – as the original vision was for the sleeping girl’s face to be illuminated and that a shaft of light should shine high into the sky.

However, these ambitions have never secured planning permission, chiefly because of Highways Agency concerns that a sculpture glistening in the darkness would distract drivers on the nearby M62.

Now the Star understands council regeneration chiefs have held tentative talks with Highways Agency officials over the lighting situation.

And it is believed a renewed planning application is being drawn up.

Gary Conley, spokesman for the ex-miners recruited to generate ideas for the colliery site’s creation, said: “The Dream is only half done.

“The idea behind it was the town’s old motto ex-terra lucem, (out of the earth came light) and we want it to be lit.

“This is why we chose Jaume Plensa because it is his signature to create artworks featuring light.

“And it was always the aim to have it lit 24/7. When we went up to see the Angel of North we realised in winter it was only in sunlight for eight hours a day, so we wanted Dream to be lit.

“We may have to settle for just the face to be lit up in the first instance and the provisions are in place at the location for that to happen.

“(But) within the Dream there is also glass already in place we just need to install the bulb and it will send a ray of light 2km into the sky.”

Mr Conley, a pitman for 17-years who has been to a series of high-profile art talks in London since Dream was unveiled, added: “All miners feel the same – it should be lit.

“The artist shares our frustrations – it is his signature to have light in his work.

“We want to see the Dream in its entirety – how it’s meant to be. The light will give it some kind of mystique.”

A spokesman for The Highways Agency told the Star “talks are ongoing with the council to find a mutually acceptable solution”, before adding: “The issue we have is this rather large search light and we want to be satisfied this won’t distract motorists, particularly as that stretch of the M62 is not lit.”

St Helens Council confirmed that when Dream gained planning permission a condition was set down by the Highways Agency that it could not be illuminated.

A new planning application would need to be submitted to challenge this.

It is thought the idea is that the beam of light would be used sparingly, possibly reserved for major local events, Saints cup triumphs or at significant times of the year.

Comments (11)

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9:33am Thu 20 Aug 09

plain-truth says...

I thought the planet was in imminent danger of self destruction due to the over use of power sources such as electricity ?
So why waste any of it lighting up this useless folly ?
I thought the planet was in imminent danger of self destruction due to the over use of power sources such as electricity ? So why waste any of it lighting up this useless folly ? plain-truth
  • Score: 0

10:14am Thu 20 Aug 09

Davv0 says...

“When we went up to see the Angel of North we realised in winter it was only in sunlight for eight hours a day, so we wanted Dream to be lit."

Yeah, but the Angel of the North is more visible to motorists passing it, unlike the 'dream' which looks just like a white pillar, why do we need a white pillar illuminated at night?
If the miners want it lit up, let them fund it with their own money.
“When we went up to see the Angel of North we realised in winter it was only in sunlight for eight hours a day, so we wanted Dream to be lit." Yeah, but the Angel of the North is more visible to motorists passing it, unlike the 'dream' which looks just like a white pillar, why do we need a white pillar illuminated at night? If the miners want it lit up, let them fund it with their own money. Davv0
  • Score: 0

10:21am Thu 20 Aug 09

A4 says...

Pathetic comment. Go of an evening or at weekend to Dream, see the stream of visitors from all over the country it attracts. Its done nothing but good for this town at a time of recession and when moral is low. The light will enhance Dream's reputation even further.
Pathetic comment. Go of an evening or at weekend to Dream, see the stream of visitors from all over the country it attracts. Its done nothing but good for this town at a time of recession and when moral is low. The light will enhance Dream's reputation even further. A4
  • Score: 0

10:39am Thu 20 Aug 09

plain-truth says...

And how many of those visitors then make their way to the town centre and spend any money... around about NIL would be my guest.
And how many of those visitors then make their way to the town centre and spend any money... around about NIL would be my guest. plain-truth
  • Score: 0

11:43am Thu 20 Aug 09

Eranu says...

Yes plain-truth we should bring in a by-law to ensure all visitors to Dream are subsequently required to travel to the town centre, and are then herded like cattle and beaten with sticks thus forcing them to enter shops.

They would then only be let out of shops upon production of a valid reciept confirming they have spend at least a tenner. I think this may address your concerns, is that what you had in mind?
Yes plain-truth we should bring in a by-law to ensure all visitors to Dream are subsequently required to travel to the town centre, and are then herded like cattle and beaten with sticks thus forcing them to enter shops. They would then only be let out of shops upon production of a valid reciept confirming they have spend at least a tenner. I think this may address your concerns, is that what you had in mind? Eranu
  • Score: 0

12:03pm Thu 20 Aug 09

Middle_aged__man says...

Pointless illuminating it if no-one can see it, cut some trees down so we can see the thing !

There is no point illuminating it if you have to be stood 50 yards in front of it, to see it, whose going to walk up an unlit dirt track at night to see this thing lit up in the dark !
Pointless illuminating it if no-one can see it, cut some trees down so we can see the thing ! There is no point illuminating it if you have to be stood 50 yards in front of it, to see it, whose going to walk up an unlit dirt track at night to see this thing lit up in the dark ! Middle_aged__man
  • Score: 0

2:24pm Thu 20 Aug 09

A4 says...

According to Chris Coffee from 'Coffee Time' the trees are to be cut in Autum following the nesting season.
According to Chris Coffee from 'Coffee Time' the trees are to be cut in Autum following the nesting season. A4
  • Score: 0

2:41pm Thu 20 Aug 09

Mrs Rabbit says...

A4 wrote:
Pathetic comment. Go of an evening or at weekend to Dream, see the stream of visitors from all over the country it attracts. Its done nothing but good for this town at a time of recession and when moral is low. The light will enhance Dream's reputation even further.
What good has it done then?
[quote][p][bold]A4[/bold] wrote: Pathetic comment. Go of an evening or at weekend to Dream, see the stream of visitors from all over the country it attracts. Its done nothing but good for this town at a time of recession and when moral is low. The light will enhance Dream's reputation even further.[/p][/quote]What good has it done then? Mrs Rabbit
  • Score: 0

3:34pm Thu 20 Aug 09

PM says...

I suspect the miners have realised what the rest of us worked out straight away-People driving past can't actually work out what the sculpture is meant to be. Why on earth did they put the thing up if they didn't have planning permission for the lights too?
I suspect the miners have realised what the rest of us worked out straight away-People driving past can't actually work out what the sculpture is meant to be. Why on earth did they put the thing up if they didn't have planning permission for the lights too? PM
  • Score: 0

4:51pm Thu 20 Aug 09

A4 says...

From what I gather they had the planning permission but the Highways Agency slapped an order on Dream to prevent the light, so rather than loose all the external funding they decided to go ahead with the sculpture and persue the lights at a further date. If you read the excellent http://www.suttonbea
uty.org.uk it tells the full story.
I do agree though, the trees do need trimming down.
From what I gather they had the planning permission but the Highways Agency slapped an order on Dream to prevent the light, so rather than loose all the external funding they decided to go ahead with the sculpture and persue the lights at a further date. If you read the excellent http://www.suttonbea uty.org.uk it tells the full story. I do agree though, the trees do need trimming down. A4
  • Score: 0

6:03pm Fri 21 Aug 09

epson says...

The tree felling/trimming will probably go to the cheapest bid and they will end up being butchered. This will still cost the tax payers money as I can't see the art grant paying for it.
The tree felling/trimming will probably go to the cheapest bid and they will end up being butchered. This will still cost the tax payers money as I can't see the art grant paying for it. epson
  • Score: 0

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