A town centre statue in Northampton popular with congregating youths - and often seen as an anti-social behaviour hotspot - has been fitted with a new barrier.
To many people’s surprise this week, Northampton Borough Council began installing a set of planters and a permanent metal barrier around the Cobblers Last statue.
The 1986 commissioned Abington Street centrepiece by Graham Ibbeson, has long been associated with anti-social behaviour problems and nearby shopkeepers had called on the council to make it less attractive to gather round.
Cabinet member for regeneration on Northampton Borough Council, Councillor Tim Hadland (Con, Old Duston) said: “Planters are being installed around The Cobblers’ Last statue and the statue is being refurbished, as it has suffered some minor damage.
“This is the first phase of the refurbishment of the western stretch of Abington Street. When Fish Street is re-paved, the work will carry on across Abington Street as far as the Grosvenor Centre and the work is planned to create a better environment in the town centre.”
When Gregory Max Barbers opened near to the statue last year, co-owner Greg Mcerlane, even vowed to take a “zero tolerance” approach to anyone misbehaving around the statue, after a number of incidents had been reported to the police.
“I don’t like to see youngsters misbehaving and if I notice any then I will get them to come into the shop and offer to train them how to cut hair,” he told the Chron.
The council is also looking at putting “wayfinding signs” at the nearby Francis Crick Memorial on Abington Street.
The authority installed a security fence around the commemorative piece yesterday.
Councillor Hadland said test work is being carried out around the memorial in order to see where signage could be placed.
The sculpture was placed in Abington Street in 2006 and was funded by the Lynn Wilson Foundation to commemorate the life and work of Northampton man Francis Crick – whose work with James Watson lead to the identification of the structure of DNA.