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Sandwells Unusual Mix Of Adverts And Sculpture

Gateways and grand architectural entrances have been popular ever since the ancient Sumerians dreamed them up thousands of years ago. Now it looks like Sandwell Council may finally be wanting to get in on the act... sort of.

The plans by developer Opus Land feature a sculpture by Colin Rose that will be 85 metres tall which the local council hopes will be to Sandwell what the Angel of the North is to Newcastle as well as give it it's own identity beyond that of Birmingham.

Named The Sandwell Gateway, one would expect it to be some sort of monumental arch. Unfortunately there is none of this but the proposal also features a very prominent advertising space and will be one of the largest 3d advertising boards in the world turning it into a mixture of art and commerce that is uncomfortable at best - only 40 metres of the actual height is even sculpture sat awkwardly on the squat box of adverts.

With the positioning of the sculpture above the advertising section as if it should not distract the views of it from the captive audience of drivers speeding along the M6 motorway near Junction 9, it raises the question of whether the art just exists to justify a huge piece of advertising for a developer out to make money?

In an underwhelming attempt to add a bit of planning gain the developer also proposes to have a webcam on the top so the public can log on and see the views and traffic cameras for the management of the flow of vehicles along the motorway.

Already local residents have rebelled against the project with one campaigner alone securing 100 signatures a night for a petition showing an exploited groundswell of opposition.

It's true however that gateways have long had advertising on them. As an example, the Ishtar Gate has symbols of animals on it but these were religious in nature dedicating the structure to the goddess it was named after and advertised the power and greatness of the civilisation, not triumphal chariots made by Lexus.

Others through history have also told stories to those passing through, but no matter what they have always had symbolism on them directly relating to the community it was an entrance to. In Sandwell this is up for sale.
The Sandwell Gateway
The Sandwell Gateway