'Welcome to Bournemouth': The £76,000 question - where are we?

 

After the unveiling of a grandiose 3D sign announcing “Welcome to Bournemouth” on a footbridge over the A338, the town’s council confidently declared that it would “promote a sense of arrival for our visitors”.

For those who have arrived in Bournemouth, by choice or otherwise, there can be little doubt that the bright blue letters, costing taxpayers £76,000, do indeed let you know that’s precisely where you are – rather than, say, Eastbourne or Bognor Regis, which may now feel the need to up their game.

For good measure, should you ever wish to leave Bournemouth, another giant sign on the other side of the footbridge now advises you to have a “Safe Journey”, in case you’re unaware of the potential perils of road travel. Regrettably, “Missing You Already” didn’t make the cut.

Local Labour councillor Ben Grower reckons the new Bournemouth sign – resplendent in Tory blue – is “the biggest two fingers to the people I have seen in many years”. A giant V-sign to motorists is one concept yet to have been adopted by civic leaders, though some old-school types in Oxfordshire are apparently all for warning off would-be visitors with “No Riff Raff”.

Others have also faced a backlash when attempting to up the ante. The Hollywood-inspired BASILDON sign on a small mound next to the A127 met with plenty of debate in Essex. The £90,000 budget regrettably limited them to a mere 5ft a letter, shorter than the average adult Basildon resident and some way off the 45ft those show offs in California managed.

Others have dared to think out of the box. A giant floral sheep called Shorn has divided opinion in Maidstone, while Weymouth boasts its £300,000 “Jurassic Stones” with stainless-steel support poles. Some have mistaken the said stones for giant mushrooms – with critics suggesting this was precisely what Arts Council members were taking when they backed the project.

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