Posted by: John Brace | 7th October 2019

Wirral Council spent £12,000 on “Message in a Bottle” Sculpture in New Brighton

Wirral Council spent £12,000 on “Message in a Bottle” Sculpture in New Brighton

                                       

1 Mann Island, Headquarters of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and Merseytravel

Lulu Quinn Ltd invoice for Message in a Bottle Sculpture stage one £10,000

Wirral Council spent £12,000 last year on a sculpture called Message in a Bottle that currently floats alongside the jetty at New Brighton Marine Lake. The invoice above for £10,000 was for the first of two payments Wirral Council made last year for the sculpture.

The 8 metre long plastic bottle was bought last year from Bath-based Lulu Quinn Ltd (since then that company has been dissolved). Funded by an Arts Council grant, it was installed as part of the Three Festivals Tall Ships Regatta 2018 as part of the Changing Tides Creative Programme.

Constructed from used plastic bottles, it was intended to spark a debate about plastic pollution and the throwaway culture.

A twin of the Message in a Bottle Sculpture was previously displayed in Liverpool’s Salthouse Dock last year, but has since travelled to Bordeaux on the Tall Ship La Malouine.

The invoice was revealed as part of collaborative Bureau Local project looking at how public bodies respond to requests for invoices made during the 30 day inspection period each year which are made using section 26 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014. An independent review by Sir Tony Redmond is currently (until 22nd November 2019) seeking views on the quality of local authority financial reporting, external audit and the operation of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014.

Unlike all other local public bodies that I made requests to this year (apart from Liverpool City Council who did not respond to the request or follow up email at all), Wirral Council was the only one that did not supply copies of all invoices requested by the end of the 30 day inspection period and has also (at the time of publication) not responded to a follow up email asking when they will supply the rest made as part of the request.

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Responses

  1. Tell me you are joking?
    And it hidden out of the way!
    Then i look and see street lamps out, bollards missing, doors off litter bins hanging off, but they have £12 grand to waste, the person who bought/spent this money needs to be sacked!

    • Thanks for your comment.

      In answer to your question no I’m not joking.

      There was a time not so long ago when people could phone or email Streetscene about the kind of issues you mention (streetlights not working, bollards missing, doors off litter bins hanging off).

      However since people got directed to fill out online forms on Wirral Council’s website about this instead (this is the page with the links for ones about litter bins) that are so long and time consuming to fill out that people give up part way through – Wirral Council must receive far less reports of issues which leads to the sort of frustrations you describe!

  2. We need public art.

    • Thanks for your comment.

      I really don’t mind public art that brings more tourists to the area – public art say for example like the Mermaid Trail in New Brighton or the Liverpool Mountain that was at the Albert Dock.

      But I just don’t think Message in a Bottle has the appeal that either of those two examples do!

  3. Not at the expense of £12 grand we don’t, when there’s more important items that need money spending on, as for this so called art, the kids at the local school with recycled milk bottles could do better and far cheaper, this bottle thing is placed out of the way you have to look for it


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