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Are we in favour of roadside landmarks?Back

A roundabout which is situated in the middle of a housing estate in York and features a unique working windmill, has this week claimed the ‘Best Roundabout in Britain’ award.

The award was granted by the UK Roundabout Appreciation Society who produce a cult-classic, world-wide selling calendar every year, and the Grade II listed Holgate Windmill will now feature on the front of the ‘Best of British Roundabouts’ 2013.

But a quirky roundabout is not the only road side attraction to hit the news in recent years, there are many sites around the country which have been the subject of national debate.

In fact, one of the most interesting land marks which has evoked many a conversation in passing, is Stott Hall Farm which is situated on the border between Lancashire and Yorkshire. What has made this farm famous is the fact it is slap bang in the middle of the M62 motorway.

Its sole occupant is Paul Thorp, a sheep farmer who lives with his dogs for company…. and 2,000 acres of land. In an interview, Paul revealed that living just twenty yards from the fast lane can have its ups and downs.

Paul said: “We’ve had a few visitors over the fence. They’ve put a crash barrier up to stop ’em, but before my time a wagon came through, knocked the wall down (and) landed on its side touching the garden wall.”

So, why didn’t the farmer living there at the time decide to move when the M62 was originally built in the 1960s? Most people in the area believe that he was stubborn and simply refused to part with his land, but Paul explains that this is just not true.

He said: “The westbound carriageway’s a lot higher than the eastbound and they couldn’t get the two to sit together that’s why it parts. So it was only geography that saved the place.”

The Angel of the North is another popular landmark to have evoked controversy. Situated in Gateshead in the North of England, it is a contemporary steel sculpture designed by Antony Gormley which takes the form of an angel standing 20 metres tall. Its wings measure 54 metres and are angled 3.5 degrees forward to create a “sense of embrace”, and it stands on a hill on the southern edge of Low Fell, overlooking the A1 and the A167 roads. You either love it or you don’t, but it is certainly eye-catching to all those who pass.

Another proposed landmark is the White Horse which was to be displayed at Ebbsfleet in Kent as the Angel of the South. Designed by by Mark Wallinger and planned to resemble a thoroughbred horse, the colossal 50 metre high sculpture has yet to be built, following a stalling in June 2012 due to lack of funding. The project was set to cost the country millions of pounds, and came up against many protests by people who were simply outraged by the very idea.

Despite the continuing protest against such landmarks costing the tax payer large amounts of hard-earned cash, it seems that we just can’t stop ourselves from building even more. In fact, another roadside landmark has very recently been proposed for Devon and takes the form of a 20-metre statue of a sword-wielding, pregnant woman. It has been designed by local artist Damien Hirst and could be sited on Ilfracombe Pier by the end of the year if a planning application is successful.

But no matter what the country as a whole thinks about our many weird and wonderful roadside attractions, the simple fact is we simply cannot seem to stop building them – after all, something that becomes such a talking point in its area, and even nationwide, surely cannot be too much of a bad thing?

Posted by Leana Kell on 19/10/2012