TAMWORTH Councillors rolled up their sleeves and gave a local landmark some tender loving care over the weekend.
The noticeable display on the side of the A5 at Junction 10 of the M42, serves as a prominent focal point for traffic entering Tamworth and Staffordshire.
The display is made of materials symbolising Staffordshire that include brick, canal locks, pottery, coal and gravel. It was installed on the side of the A5 bypass to welcome visitors to the county and has been there since the A5 bypass opened over 20 years ago.
However when it was originally installed, provisions were not made for the long-term maintenance and over the last few years various agencies and public bodies have refused to accept responsibility for it, in what has become a complicated legal argument.
While the agencies disagreed over looking after it, trees and weeds had moved in to claim the display and rather than being a nice entrance point, it had become an eyesore. After trying in vain to get an agency to accept responsibility for it, a number of local Conservative Councillors decided to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty cleaning it all up. Councillors Danny Cook, Robert Pritchard, Simon Goodall, Jeremy Oates and Richard Ford gave up their Sunday evening to remove weeds, trees, litter and debris.
Speaking to Tamworth Informed, Cllr Robert Pritchard said: “The clean-up has made a real difference to the display and it looks much better. Councillors have been contacted by many residents on this issue, as it was a bad first impression when entering Tamworth. We will need to visit again to finish the work, as it’s a lot bigger than it looks from the A5, but you can already see it is now a far more attractive greeting to visitors.”
Councillors plan to return to the site again to remove the last of the weeds and will continue to fight to ensure the symbol is formally adopted by a responsible agency.
Cllr Jeremy Oates said: ”Local councillors and our MP have all been lobbying hard to get the display formally adopted by a local agency and the responsibility for its upkeep secured, and we will continue to do so. However as a gateway to Tamworth and Staffordshire, it is important that it gives a good impression of the town. So we decided to take matters into our own hands for the time being.”