End of the Universe

Horsham’s controversial Shelley Fountain was likened to a vegetable as councillors decided to give it the chop.

A full meeting of Horsham District Council has ordered the removal of the ball-shaped sculpture, also known as The Rising Universe, because it costs too much to maintain.

And while some residents might mourn its demise, delighted Dave Vallance gave the District Post another view. Dave, obviously never a fan of the prominent piece, said: “Regarding the imminent demise of that “thing” known as the Shelley Fountain….Hurrah!Good riddance to the partially burnt swede that has blighted our town for many years.”

Arrangements will now be made to have The Rising Universe moved from its West Street site,  20 years after it was first installed.

But some evidence of the creation will remain in the town. While the central globe and satellite arms will be removed the splash pool area popular with children will stay and be incorporated into a formalised planting scheme as part of landscape enhancements to the area.

Councillors unanimously agreed the removal at their meeting on Wednesday of last week after being told the sculpture has reached the end of its “serviceable life.” They were told it would need continuing costly repairs as well as weekly and monthly maintenance work to retain it as originally intended. Since installation in 1996 the council says it has had to spend more than £200,000 on repairs and maintenance of the sculpture.

A report spoke of current and anticipated pressures on the council’s budgets, and feedback from the public “who are strongly in favour of removing the sculpture”, perhaps echoing the words of people like Mr Vallance.

A spokeswoman for the council confirmed that the decision to remove the Rising Universe had been unanimous.

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