It’s been revealed that Altrincham’s new gateway monument, the Altrincham Totem, cost the taxpayer over £16,000.
A Freedom of Information request to Trafford Council has disclosed that the four-metre lacquered steel landmark – and the two smaller bollards on either side of Stamford New Road – cost £15,232 to create.
The cost to install the totem was £790, making a total cost of £16,022. The council was not able to provide a cost for the planning meetings undertaken by Trafford Council staff on the project.
Martin Ledson, Town Centres Manager for Trafford Council, said the Totem was funded through “a variety of sources, including TfGM Growth Funds, developer contributions and Council environmental improvement funds”.
The expense comes at a time when Trafford Council must save nearly £23m from its 2016/17 budget, including significant cuts to adult social care and school transport provision for disabled children.
The totem, which was designed by Altrincham practice Planit-IE and created by Chris Brammall, forms the final piece in the jigsaw of phase one of the public realm improvement works in the town.
Planit-IE said the totem, which features the words ‘Altrincham market town’ and the year of its establishment, 1290, is intended to announce a “visitor’s arrival at the town and welcome local residents home”.
It is also meant to complement both the clock tower and the street furniture introduced during the first phase of the public realm improvement works.
The lettering on both the totem and the bollards light up at night.
Lindsay Humblet, the partner in charge of the project at Planit-IE, said the gateway markers were intended to “define a sense of place” while also defining the entry into the town.
He said they had the dual purpose of acting as a traffic calming measure, “squeezing” the road to slow vehicles on entry into the town.
“It’s also about seeing towns as places for people, not just places for cars.”
Humblet said the new markers complied with all highway requirements.
Additional reporting: Kevin Parker