‘The Carrot’ art sculpture on Weston High Street will be redeveloped

A VERY HATED art sculpture on Weston High Street is to be upgraded with a £95,000 redesign.

The famous Silica, on Big Lamp Corner, arrived in 2006 priced at £280,000 but was quickly dubbed ‘The Carrot’ by critics for its similarities to the vegetable.

It was funded by central government as part of North Somerset Council’s defunct civic pride initiative.

A time capsule was also laid beneath its surface, along with a toy carrot, for future generations.

Now the artwork will see an almost £100,000 upgrade to change 250 light bulbs on the tower.

The Silica fell into disrepair almost immediately after its construction, and in 2012 the Mercury reported local dissatisfaction with its appearance, noting that the once-gloss cream structure was becoming “mouldy”.

It was once used as a bus shelter and small concession stand, but poor trading, anti-social behavior and vandalism left it vacant for many years.

“Since Silica was installed it has provoked debate, as any piece of public art should,” said Central Ward Councilor Robert Payne.

“But as an important and iconic structure in the heart of Weston town centre, it is essential that it is kept in good condition.

“We all want to create a thriving and sustainable downtown and I’m glad to see that this silica work will help contribute to that.

“It will be fantastic to see the tower light up again and use smart technology to reflect the seasons and events of the year.”

The council says the two-week project will install new, multi-coloured, energy-efficient lighting. Work begins today, September 26.

LED lights will replace the 250 monochrome lights and control equipment will also be replaced.

These changes mean that lights can be colored differently for events and themes throughout the year.

The work will be carried out by Ark Lighting and street lighting contractor Centregreat Ltd.

North Somerset Council Executive Member for Motorways, Cllr Steve Hogg, said: “Structures like this require regular maintenance and since Silica’s design concept was based on light it is only reasonable that we were investing in the maintenance of this concept.

“We look forward to the structure shining as planned and illuminating Big Lamp Corner over the coming winter months.”

During the works, the adjacent loading dock on Regent Street will be suspended and an area around the tower will be cordoned off.

Mildred D. Field