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