TENS of thousands of pounds in community money was spent on the Bracknell’s controversial ‘Jenga’ sculpture.

Having been installed in November 2018, the ‘Onyo’ structure was chosen ahead of four other entries in a competition for new public art run more than four years ago.

900 people voted for the sculpture in a poll hosted by South Hill Park Arts Centre and Bracknell Forest Council (BFC) as part of The Gateway Project last year.

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BFC commissioned the structure through section 106 money, which are funds contributed by developers which can be used for more affordable housing, roads, parks and more.

An investigation by the News revealed council bosses shelled out £20,000 for the installation of the sculpture, with separate installation costs coming to £1,576.

Bracknell News:

Landscaping fees will set BFC back a further £4,170, 12 months maintenance means a further £2,080 in spending, and topping up the bark around the figure will see the authority fork out an extra £140.

The total cost for the purchase, installation and marketing of the sculpture comes to £29,350.71.

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Onyo is meant to relate “to Bracknell primarily through regeneration – the idea of progress (the continuous building of the structure) and a tipping point, leading to a new process of building.”

But the artwork has split opinions among residents.

Mark John told the News: “£30k on that bloody thing! I don’t particularly think it’s terrible, I just think it looks out of place.

Bracknell News:

“I would have preferred a stag for example as that’s our symbol.”

Rob Francis added: “I think that public art is a great thing, and I’m very fond of Kerry Lemon’s nature-inspired works around the town.

“But this particular piece doesn’t really excite me or fit in with the rest of that nature aesthetic.

“I think good art can come with a price tag like this.”

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However, responding to a post about the sculpture online, other commenters said it looked “eye-catching”, “great” and “contemporary”.

One added: “It’s quite jolly. At least it has some colour.

“I think I could come to enjoy seeing it as I come into the station.”

Bracknell News:

The sculpture was created by artist Samuel Zealey and is made from a range of materials including york stone, aluminium, marble and more.

Andrew Hunter, Director for Place, Planning and Regeneration at BFC, said: “As part of the Gateway Project – a collaboration between South Hill Park and the council to increase art in public spaces – a competition was held for a new piece of art for Bracknell station forecourt.

“The Onyo sculpture won the public vote and has now been in place for over 12 months.

“Sculptures and public art always stimulate debate and serve to create identity, distinctiveness and key focal points for towns.”