Velmore’s Doves take to the skies

Stainless steel Doves at the Velmore Centre

A new piece of public art has recently been installed at the Velmore Centre in Chandlers Ford, providing the the finishing touch to the new facilities that were opened last month.

The artwork, which is affixed to the roof of the Velmore Centre, depicts 80 stainless steel Doves-in-flight with inscriptions and graphics incorporated into the wings of the Doves. The designs for the wings have been created by local people.

The project to create the Velmore Centre was a partnership between the Velmore Church, Eastleigh Borough Council and First Wessex, with Eastleigh Borough Council taking the lead.

The public art was commissioned in 2011, with a £50K budget, and the aims of the project stated to be;

  1. To contribute to the creation of a distinctive and unique identity for the church / community facility.
  2. Enhance the sense of community and raise perceptions of the estate both locally and further afield
  3. Deliver a public art scheme on site that is accessible to the residents and integral to the design of the church / community facility
  4. Fulfil developers’ obligations for public art on the site and discharge the public art condition

The “public art condition” was one of the benefits that were negotiated [under section 106 of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990] when the plans for the Velmore redevelopment, the replacement of First Wessex’s  inadequate housing stock with a higher density of modern affordable housing, were approved in October 2009.

The £50k funding for this project has been provided by the developer, First Wessex.

The Velmore Centre before the Doves were installed.

Ray Turner

Formerly a Civil-Servant and IT Specialist at ONS, Ray is now semi-retired and spare-time self-employed. He contributes to Eastleigh News on a voluntary basis and is also an administrator for the site. 

  21 comments for “Velmore’s Doves take to the skies

  1. Stephen Slominski
    June 17, 2012 at 12:10 am

    That’s a pretty amazing piece of work, and I like it BUT (and I hate to be a drag) I can think of better uses for £50k.

    • June 17, 2012 at 12:50 am

      The Dove is a religous symbol of course, so the idea works very well on a building that is used as a church.

      My observation is that you have to see it to appreciate it…

  2. Brian Norgate
    June 17, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Labour Councillors Peter Luffman and I attended the original Velmore meetings and consultation. The residents of Velmore wanted a Branch doctors surgery from the developers contributions, Peter Luffman and we fought for the Lib dem plans.

    We were greatful to Help the aged who got a victory over the Lib dem plans in decanting the residents, The Lib dems were found to be in breach of the residents human rights and we forced them to change their plans.

    The doctors surgery was supported by the shop owners and local health providers, the lib dems preferred the doctors surgery to be on the new Pirelli site.

    The doctors surgery had money available from Winchester and Eastleigh health trust, As Labour councillors we ensured it was fully funded and presented our information to the Velmore residents group who supported us.

    Boyatt wood, Fair Oak, Valley park and many other
    places have local Branch surgeries for Doctors, why not Velmore.

    the problem was always the Lib dems plans which have caused detriment to another area in Eastleigh, the housing issues on the Causton, Pirelli stage one, Crestwood view and Alexander court in twyford road show the Lib dems have not worked for the benefit for the people of Eastleigh and Eastleighs long term future.

    £50k for Art was never in the original budget for the Velmore chapel development and should have gone to the cost of the residents wishes and been invested in a Doctors surgery.

    • wavatar
      Eastleigh Xpress
      June 17, 2012 at 3:48 pm

      Yeah, I had an email from a brassed off Aviary resident recently regards trouble (he alleged) he had experienced trying to get a doctor’s appointment for his 5 year-old at Parkside.

      His point was, if he can’t get a Doctor’s appointment now, what is it going to be like after they built an extra 1300 homes on Stoneham Park?

      So it seems there is an urgent need for an extra surgery already before any more house building takes place.

      But, as Ray has alluded, isn’t the council compelled by the govt to spend £x on public art?

      Is it not the case that the council couldn’t spend this particular £50k lump on a Doctor’s Surgery, even if they accepted there was a need for one?

      • June 17, 2012 at 7:39 pm

        Fascinating comments thanks chaps.

        To be fair, I wasn’t alluding to any Govt policy that compels the Council to spend money on public art: hadn’t even given it a thought actually…!

        Wikipedia has a page on public art
        which currently reads “In the United Kingdom percent for art is discretionary for local authorities, who implement it under the broader terms of a section 106 agreement otherwise known as ‘planning gain’, in practice it is negotiable, and seldom ever reaches a full 1%, where it is implemented at all.”

        There is a page on Public Art to be found here on the Eastleigh Borough Council website. Follow the links therein for the Borough Councils more detailed policy on Public Art.

  3. Chris Thomas
    June 17, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Always interesting to see Brian re-write history. Despite any alluded to assistance from the NHS, the fact was that NO doctor wanted to man this site full time. In the plans, however, is a treatment centre providing the capability if the situation changes.

    And yes Xpress you are correct, there was a requirement for public art, in this case 50K. Of course, what consitutes art, is I guess, in the eye of the beholder.

  4. wavatar
    Eastleigh Xpress
    June 17, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    Of course, what consitutes art, is I guess, in the eye of the beholder.

    No problem with the design here…but not everyone feels the same way:

    I just find it hard to believe it cost that much..was £50k the budget or what it actually cost?

    An equally imaginative installation has sprouted beside Eastleigh Road in Fair Oak in the form of a a giant man sized vase of tulips.

    Its very startling, and I like it even more -although I’m not sure what it has to do with the Diamond Jubilee it is meant to mark and I must get some photos before it disappears!

    Again, I dread to think what it cost and wonder if the money could have been utilised elsewhere.

    I think it was on Keith Day’s or possibly John Edward’s blog I attempted to make the point that all this money the govt is creating with QE is fetching up in some rather odd places as it percolates its way through the ‘economy’ and I rather think these two pieces of Public art are prime examples.
    It’s weird that we should be cutting back on public services, jobs and pensions while at the same time erecting thousands of pounds worth of public sculpture.

    • June 18, 2012 at 5:53 pm

      My earlier comment, “You have to see it to appreciate it” was deliberately ambiguous.

      I tend towards Jane’s point of view, preferring the nice clean lines of the building before the art was installed.

      Just my point of view though, speaking as someone who hasn’t even got a TV aerial or satellite dish affixed to the outside of his house…

  5. June 18, 2012 at 7:39 am

    But public art *is* a public service. You can’t use S106 contributions to fund salaries or pensions, so why not use them to make the Borough a more pleasant place to live?

    • June 18, 2012 at 6:23 pm

      I certainly don’t consider Public Art to be a public service. That’s stretching things a bit too far. Not even sure that it always makes the Borough a better place to live.

      Wikipedia currently defines “Public Service” as
      Public services tend to be those considered as so essential to modern life that for moral reasons their universal provision should be guaranteed.

      Public Art is clearly not essential to modern life. We could live without it.

      At best Public Art is “desirable”, something that the Council should only be doing once the essential services are in place and working correctly…

      • June 18, 2012 at 9:55 pm

        We could live without libraries, parks, recreation grounds, bandstands, museums and art galleries, but it would be a grim sort of utilitarian life.

        Art has been part of our existence for 17,000 years. Before we had sewers, roads or public refuse collections.

        • June 19, 2012 at 6:18 pm

          That’s perfectly true, but public art should be seen as a luxury rather than an essential service.

      • June 19, 2012 at 8:06 am

        Wikipedia’s definition of public service does not really stand up when you consider that the provision and distribution of food is almost entirely done by the private sector.

        Air travel seems to have become essential to modern life, and that is almost entirely done by the private sector.

        The internet is largely dependent on the private sector.

        Public services are those services which are funded by taxation. Many are not essential to modern life – libraries, bandstands, museums, art galleries, parks and gardens to name a few – but our communal existence would be much poorer without them.

        • June 19, 2012 at 6:51 pm

          I agree that Wikipedia’s definition isn’t brilliant. Agree also that life would be poorer without the things that you mention.

          I’m not sure if there’s a better way of describing the provision of Public Art, but “service” isn’t the right word. The concept of a Public Art “service” will always struggle because of the issues raised above. Perhaps referring to a Public Art “programme” would be less controversial…?

          And I wonder if this debate is really about priorities?

          Public Art surely is (or should be) quite a long way down the list.

          I don’t like to see impressive pieces of artwork installed in our Towns and Cities, with people sleeping rough on the benches that surround them…

  6. Stephen Slominski
    June 18, 2012 at 11:19 am

    “But public art *is* a public service”

    What, and it has equal (or greater) merit than provision for health or sanitation?

    My bins are emptied once a fortnight and my road hasn’t been swept for two years.

    Addressing those concerns would certainly make my part of the Borough a more pleasant (and healthier) place to live more so than say spending £60k on sponsoring a Polish dance company to tour the UK (In fact I don’t see how that particular piece of excess benefited the Borough at all.)

    Anyway, my current two week wait to see my GP on a cardiac matter is almost over (my heart attack in February occurred while waiting
    for a hospital appointment) but at least we have £50k flock of seagulls flying round a flipping church, that makes me feel a lot better.

  7. Stephen Slominski
    June 19, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    We could live without libraries, parks, recreation grounds, bandstands, museums and art galleries, but it would be a grim sort of utilitarian life.

    Art has been part of our existence for 17,000 years. Before we had sewers, roads or public refuse collections.

    I have to wonder how art managed to survive for 17,000 years without Eastleigh’s tax payers subsidising it?

    I wonder how Shakespeare would have got on if EBC were running the Globe?

    I can see ‘Othello’ and ‘Merchant of Venice’getting canned due to ‘negative racial stereotyping’

  8. June 19, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Well Shakespeare’s company was supported by the King so the Globe depended on a sort of public subsidy.

    • wavatar
      Eastleigh Xpress
      June 19, 2012 at 9:19 pm

      No, private patronage, no more a public subsidy than Pope Clement VII sponsorship of Michelangelo

  9. June 20, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    It would have been private patronage if James had been spending his own money, but he was basically skint when he accepted the English crown and had to keep going to parliament for increased taxes to fund his self-confessed extravagant life style.

    • Stephen Slominski
      June 20, 2012 at 9:48 pm

      Come off it Keith. You can’t compare despotism with democracy.
      Pope Clement also relied on the public for his wealth but he like James, didn’t consult on how it should be spent.
      They spent to satisfy their whims, they taxed to fund their pet projects.
      If the public derived any benefit form such an outcome then it was purely incidental to the propitiation of a rampant ego.
      You don’t see that kind of thing going on in a modern democracy like wot we have here in Eastleigh do you?

  10. Peter Stewart
    June 20, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    If £50,000 HAD to be spent on art, then this shows the system is rotten. Regardless of who “pays”, ultimately Britain’s dwindling working class always pays.

    In an age of austerity, a spare £50,000 should be spent on something useful for the community, not on art.

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