THE artist behind a ‘unique’ Dorset attraction says years of work could be undone by a proposal to allocate neighbouring land for mineral extraction.
Sculptor Simon Gudgeon and wife Monique opened Sculpture by the Lakes at Pallington near Dorchester three years ago with works of art set against the tranquil backdrop of 26 acres of lakes, ponds, streams and pools.
However, they now fear that their vision could be ruined after Dorset County Council included a neighbouring site at Woodsford Farm for potential gravel and sand extraction in its Mineral Sites Consultation Document.
The document lists the site alongside a number of other proposed locations in Dorset and under the heading of ‘amenity’ for Woodsford Farm states: “No significant impacts expected, site is relatively remote.”
The county council says the site was put forward by Woodsford Farm, where there is already an existing quarry in operation and, like all other sites that had been nominated, had been included in the consultation phase but insists no decisions have yet been made.
Mr Gudgeon said Sculpture by the Lakes has developed an excellent reputation, partly because of its ability to offer a serene and calm environment for people to enjoy.
He said: “As an art destination one of our unique features is peace and tranquillity so people can come here and enjoy art in a wonderful environment.
“If you have got quarry work going on next door that’s going to destroy that environment.”
Mr Gudgeon said it was not just the impact on visitors that he was concerned about, but also the wildlife that had made Sculpture by the Lakes its home over recent years.
The site is now home to 98 species of birds, including kingfishers and cranes, as well as mammals such as water voles and otters.
He said: “Not only is this an art destination but it’s also a wildlife destination.
“We have done a huge amount of planting and habitat work to make it agreeable to a whole variety of wildlife.
“Having a quarry working 300 yards away with all the noise that is going to entail will cause a huge amount of damage.”
Mr Gudgeon is now calling on people who support Sculpture by the Lakes to make their feelings about the proposal known and comment on the consultation by the February 13 deadline, at dorsetforyou.com/mineral-sites