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September 2007 

22 September 2007

The Editor
West Sussex County Times
Market Square
Horsham, RH12 1HD

Dear Sir,

The decision to move Lorne McKean’s iconic sculpture of swans landing on water from Swan Walk has come as a shock to many residents. The reason given, that it follows an environmental and safety review, seems incomprehensible.

I am sure that many will agree with me that any environmental or safety issues that there may be are caused by the earlier misconceived decision to surround the sculpture with another coffee venue, destroying the sense of space and creating a narrow chicane through which pedestrians have to weave past people carrying hot drinks. It is not the swans that should go but the café.

Norwich Union’s offer to help to finance its move to another location misses the point. The sculpture reflects the name of the centre and is a reminder of the Swan inn which used to stand on part of the site. To move the sculpture will destroy this link.

Furthermore, it will be very difficult to find another suitable location. It needs a large, high space to do it justice and it needs to be protected from vandals. Unlike Mr Pirie’s donkey cart it was not designed to be climbed on. An advantage of its current location is that the Swan Centre is locked at night and has very good security when open.

Swan Walk prides itself on being the premier shopping location in Horsham. It is well run, providing a pleasant shopping environment; and the swans are an important part of the experience. It has made a mistake with this proposal and I hope it is not too late for it to realise it and restore the swans in pride of place.

Yours faithfully

John Steele
Chairman, The Horsham Society