Turner Contemporary bid to keep spinning disc installation at East Cliff bandstand until September 30 recommended for approval

Beacon installation Photo Brian Whitehead

An application by Turner Contemporary to leave the Beacons spinning disc installation in place at the East Cliff bandstand  until the end of September this year will be discussed by councillors on Thanet’s planning committee next week.

The four structures, which each have a coloured steel disc at the top of a steel pole weighted by a tripod base, were installed in September 2021 and were scheduled to be in place for one year.

The bandstand is a Grade II listed asset, and a designated public open space, within the Ramsgate Conservation Area. The structure dates to the late 1930s and includes the patterned dancefloor, the boundary wall, railings and steps, as well as the bandstand itself.

Beacons at the East Cliff Bandstand Photo Frank Leppard

Councillors are being recommended to approve the application by the authority’s planning officer.

However, Thanet’s conservation officer said: “At the time of the original approval it was established and clarified that this scheme was temporary and as such the harm considered to be caused to the setting and appearance of the nearby listed structures was temporary.

“Given that the scheme is directly in front of the listed crescent and directly upon a listed structure it is considered to cause a level of interference to its setting and appearance, which typically would not be accepted.

“Given the scheme has already been in place for a year, I would now consider that prolonging this level of harm would be inappropriate and as such the structures should be removed. No accompanying justification has been included as part of this application and as such I have little to weigh any harm against any social and communicable benefits.

Photo Frank Leppard

“Therefore I object to the application and would suggest that the scheme is removed and the listed grounds it sits upon made good.”

Ramsgate Town Council also objected to the proposal as did two members of the public. One response in support has also been lodged.

Ramsgate councillor Steve Albon called the application in to be discussed by the planning committee.

In response to the criticisms Turner Contemporary has provided documents outlining the benefits to culture, tourism and regeneration and highlights how the installation was part of the Pioneering Places project with some 70 Ramsgate schoolchildren from St Laurence’s Junior Academy and Ramsgate Arts Primary working with artist Conrad Shawcross. The gallery say this fits in with Ramsgate’s ‘Levelling Up’ aims.

The children involved in the project researched Ramsgate, with a focus on the historic character of its Royal Harbour, and this was used for their ideas for the artwork.

Photo Brian Whitehead

In a report to councillor’s the planning officer says: “The information provided by the applicant demonstrates that the artwork has achieved significant national attention and accolades and there is a recognition that increased footfall
has been encouraged along the East Cliff Promenade.

“Policy SP04 supports development that attracts tourism and helps to regenerate the town, and the loss of protected open space is supported by policy SP32 where there is open recreation or tourism use.

“The installation therefore meets the aims of these town regeneration and tourism policies whilst being consistent with the cultural and maritime heritage set out in the council’s strategic priorities.”

The planning officer adds: “Given the limited additional time requested and the tourism, cultural and regeneration benefits identified for the town.

“It is recommended that Members approve a further temporary period of time until 30 September 2023 for the artwork to be displayed.”

The application will be discussed on January 18.

61 Comments

  1. wow = i am sure all the crowds that flock to ramsgate to see them will be delighted , no one can that they are a waste of money.

  2. Now Turner Contemporary has fully joined th NHS in wasting taxpayers money.

    Perhaps I didn’t realize art was only for the under 5’s.

  3. Culture, tourism and re-generation, eh? Can someone please explain to me how these ugly eyesores can possibly promote any of these things?

    • “there is a recognition that increased footfall has been encouraged along the East Cliff Promenade”
      Well, either it’s a fact that footfall has been increased, or it’s not.

  4. I’ve lived here since it was installed and the claim it is bringing in tourism is complete rubbish. Most people just scratch their heads and the handles were only added towards the end of 2022.the only fans I’ve seen have been dogs lifting their legs,maybe their critic’s.

  5. Much as Ramsgate has its faults, these things are far too tacky to be there. Put them in TC’s car park instead (or brighten up the Winter Gardens, prior to the much-anticipated “accidental” fire).

    • On this occasion Peter, I completely agree.

      If they are allegedly so good at creating footfall and all the other tourism tosh then there must be other sites in Thanet that can share the benefit.

      They aren’t even installed as planned. Keep them on the move. Manston airport perhaps.

      Farewell my four lollipops.

  6. Not really moved either way by them-they aren’t hideous like most of the stuff in the Turner, but I am failing to see how they are bringing anything of value to the area-people seeing some lollipop looking things in national weekend supplements is not really of local value, nor is Anthony Gormless of the awful Angel Of The North etc waxing lyrical about it putting money in Margate’s tills.

    Increased footfall encouraged along the promenade-what does this mean? How many & over what time frame? Does it have any effect on the local economy? How are these things regenerating the town exactly?

      • No, Gormley created a truly horrific artwork for the North. We have Emin’s dirty, decades old bacteria ridden bed as the leading ‘artwork’ in the South.

        • If you want to see true art then visit the National Gallery in London. All of this childish rubbish in Thanet is simply extracting the urine, from Emin to so-called spinning discs that don’t spin. Any silly beggar can exhibit an unmade bed, for heaven sake. Madness, absolute madness.

          • There is actually some good art here-Kathy has run stories on it. But sadly they get no funding, because of course they are talented squares that do actual paintings & drawings, & aren’t the groovy kids sticking shapes or old rags on walls, piling up brick-a-brac on the floor, drawing stick people throwing paint at a canvas to make it look like a pile of vomit etc.

        • The Angel of the North is an iconic piece of artwork and much enjoyed by the people who drive past it and visit it close up. Have you ever visited?

          Have you visited the Gormley in Canterbury Cathedral?

          • In the same way that Emin’s dirty bed is ‘iconic’ & somebody was stupid enough to pay millions for it.

  7. I admit I was a little surprised when I came across this installation. Seems a bit of harmless fun, it’s not covered in graffiti or an eyesore to my mind ,so why not extend the life of the project. It’s a shame if it doesn’t spin of its own volition I’ll have a spin myself the next time I’m there . Given the inclement weather and gales it’s astonishing this installation is still upright
    Increased footfall though probably more hyperbolic Thanet arts speak.i

  8. The installation is of value to the children who helped to create it of course but has been located in a completely inappropriate place. I suspect that they have run out of money so cannot afford the cost of moving them but if all else fails why not re-erect them outside the Turner Gallery.

  9. The lollipops look seasidey ! But they should be down on the beach prom. But I guess the people buying the posh apartments wouldn’t want them spoiling their view !

  10. Lets be honest. They’re a load of old tat. This isn’t an argument about leaving them in situ, but more about who pays for their removal, storage and making good of the site. For once it would be nice if the local council tax payer didn’t have to pick up the bill.

  11. These discs are fun! When the handles never appeared, as a covid measure, I used to turn the metal attachment anyway to get the disc moving.
    If they can stay we definately should keep them.
    It’s valuable for the young people who inspired them and a jolly sight for most others, residents, visitors alike.
    The Conservation Officer’s objections are daft given TDC had no interest in the bandstand or dance floor!
    A quote that came to mind reading the stuck-in-the-mud’s here is that Art is to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.
    There are many Ramsgate locals who create art that is displayed for us public, philistine or angle, thanetian or DF (anywhere off Island). Like the “wheeee” on the bogs, festival of sound, power of women, lantern parade, yule tree exhibition at St,Georges, advent open doors, the many small gallery shows, etc, etc.
    For all the negative commentators and piss takers, please, try to delight in the frivolity. Get a handle on having some fun, turn the discs on a clear day to show the French!

  12. As someone who doesn’t use the term Thanetian but can claim to be a genuine Ramsgatonian, let me say that piss-taking is a valid point of view and should be encouraged when confronted by the pseudo-art on top of the East Cliff.
    The “spinning discs” are a bloody eyesore and should be binned at the earliest opportunity.
    Philistines forever!

    • Piss taking definately something I value. I don’t like all the anti-art chauvinists pretending their views are, somehow, superior. And the commentators who use their posts to make the conversation about them rather than the issue are also annoying.
      You don’t like the discs? Fine I can live with the different sensibility but try accepting this is art and many people like it.

  13. I don’t think it matters what anyone thinks of them or how much electricity they cam produce, the whole point is that planning permission was granted for a temporary period and that has expired so they should be removed to comply, otherwise planning permission isn’t worth the brown envelope it came in.

  14. Truly horrible ugly lumps of concrete ruined the whole viewpoint why doesn’t the council restore the bandstand and the original things instead of putting concrete boulders with ugly metal lollipops Really

  15. I would say politely that all the ugliness surrounding the Eastcliff band stand is inappropriate. I am of an age when all people dressed smartly instead of the current trend for sartorial ugliness. This is now reflcted in so-called “art” and the unbearable noise that passes for music, as with impressions of a cat being strangled on the shows like the XFactor.

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