Greater Lincolnshire

Local Democracy Weekly: Giant palm trees – How to revive Lincolnshire towns

It divided public opinion and continued to attract criticism minutes before it was approved, but hopes of reviving tourism in Cleethorpes are now pinned on a 72ft tall palm tree sculpture.

Much of the debate surrounding the white palm surrounded the subjectivity of public art and how not all designs have to be relevant to the local area.

“What does a palm tree have to do with Cleethorpes?” was one question, which was immediately rebutted with “what does an angel have to do with the North East?”


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The back and forth over the sculpture subsided when it became clear that the project would be approved – but it was just one strand in the scheme to revive the fortunes of the town.

More than £7 million was secured two years ago to improve the image of the town and reconnect it with the community.

While palm trees may not have anything to do with a seaside town on the east coast of Lincolnshire, it has already attracted enough attention in its own right.

Statue of George Boole, which is set to be built outside Lincoln train station.

Conservative councillor Henry Hudson put it bluntly: “Whether you love it or hate it, we are going to go and have a look at it.”

The point is, local councils are looking at a vast array of ways to improve the image of their towns and cities.

Whether that be going cap in hand to Whitehall for funding or looking closer to home for inspiration.

In Lincoln, the city council has a whole masterplan of how it intends to drive economic activity over the coming years.

The gist of the plan is for the city to offer an “experience” rather than just nine-to-five retail shopping.

It’s also decided to look at its own heritage for its statues by opting to celebrate local mathematician, George Boole, outside the train station.

So, while Cleethorpes may be scratching its head over why a giant palm tree is going to built on its North Promenade – the bigger picture is more important.

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