White Palm – an update

5:41 pm, Thursday, 16th January 2020

A revised planning application for the White Palm in Cleethorpes has been submitted into the planning process this week.

The White Palm is a proposal by Wolfgang Weileder for a new large-scale public sculpture for the North Promenade in Cleethorpes.

Situated on the North Promenade, the sculpture will be positioned next to the Humber that covers a petrified forest. The remains of three stumps are sometimes visible at low tide. As the only other trees in the area, they are marks of what was once a very different landscape.

Echoing the remains of the trees in the water and creating the shadow from the litter on the beaches, The White Palm references the past, but is also a warning for the future.  If we don’t change our behaviours and the climate continues to deteriorate, palm trees might become a common sight on the East Lincolnshire coastline.

Original plans were for the structure to be located at the end of the North Prom. However, information came to light during the planning process that showed that the new rock groyne, built in 2016 to help prevent coastal erosion, is now providing significant habitat for migrating birds.

The Humber Estuary is a hugely important ecological site. It has five special designations, Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Special Protection Area (SPA), Special Area of Conservation (SAC), European Marine Site (EMS), and as a Ramsar site. Just one of these, the SPA, means that the habitats of migratory birds is protected under European law.

Since the building of the groyne, many different species of birds, including Purple Sandpipers, Turnstones and Oyster Catchers, have started to use the area as a roost.

Early indications suggested the location and size of the White Palm, and the additional footfall to the new tourist attraction, may have affected the roosting of these birds. In order to accommodate these factors, an alternative location is proposed slightly further down the North Promenade, opposite the end of the Wonderland building.

Meanwhile, other work on the North Promenade art project is continuing. Businesses interested in the shutter art project have been getting in touch to see how they can get involved after the first business, Browns Café, received their artwork at the end of last year. The new furniture and lighting is being created at the moment, with installation due in the middle of this year.

The public art project has been funded from a Coastal Communities Fund grant, secured by CoastNEL and North East Lincolnshire Council.