AUG 00] WARWICK
DISTRICT COUNCIL NEWS
Not A Smooth Start For The Groovy Ball Facelift
The revamped Abbey
Court will be unofficially unveiled on Thursday, after a series of
high-profile glitches at the Kenilworth site.
The £30,000 water
feature that should make the centrepiece of the display has been
returned after concern about the location of Kenilworth – which has
been moved from the Midlands to near London.
The ball, which will
sit in a fountain and can be pushed around, marks all the Kenilworths
across the world. The Warwickshire town has namesakes in the USA,
Canada, South Africa and Australia.
The whole project has
run behind schedule, and traders threatened to withhold rent because
they lost custom because of the work.
And there is now
concern over the bus lay-by, as it turns out that northbound vehicles
won’t be able to use the new bus shelter after all. Warwick District
Council blames the county for not informing it about plans to make
changes, and there is no way buses heading into Coventry can use the
new stop without more engineering works.
But councillors and
officers will be putting on a brave, and probably relieved face, that
the project is finally finished.
The overall £400,000
has seen a repaving of the open area, new bus lay-bys, taxi waiting
area, trees and benches, plus a realignment to the roundabout.
accidents, the mayor will lead the ceremony at 1pm on Thursday, which
will mark the completion of the work that has been taking place since
It will be the first
day when the weekly market is held at front of the Abbey Court shops.
For the last four years, it was held in the car park, behind the
shops. Many people thought it was tucked away out of sight.
The market had moved
from the former Bear and Ragged Staff car park at the other end of the
town centre, before the land was transferred to Sainsbury’s.
farmers’ market and annual Continental market have used the new
siting and it seems to have worked well.
The revamp should
help cheer up the area of 1960s architecture, which is somewhat out of
place in one of Warwickshire’s most affluent towns.
The water feature is
officially to be known as The Globe - as it is a map of the world and
it stands on the site on the Globe Hotel that was bombed in the Second
But the feature is
better-known in town as the ‘groovy ball’ which stemmed from a
comment made by the town centre manager when the project was first
discussed - and the nickname stuck.
Town mayor Graham
Windybank said of the Abbey End enhancement:
“I think it is a
real improvement on what was there before. It is interesting to see
that people are using the nice circular seats and seem to be
enjoying the area already.
“I think the
water feature in the middle will finish it all off. I have seen the
ball water feature, and with others I have my own views of the
treatment of the delineation of the continents.
“But it should be
known that the ball is only about 80 cm in diameter and so Britain
is about 9 or 10cm so it is hard to be that accurate given the size.
“I am very upbeat
about it all and I think this is good news for Kenilworth. We have
been waiting for a long time and now it is finished.”
revamp of Abbey End has divided the two parties representing
Kenilworth at town and district level, with the Conservatives and
Liberal Democrats fiercely opposed on what work was needed to update
the shopping and housing complex.
But Cllr Windybank
“Times have moved
on, and the decision has been made and the work is complete. I think
most people will agree, it is all very much better now.
Market in July was a good test and things have been refined