Shropshire Star

Something fishy being planned for the centre of Newport

A sculpture of three fishes is being planned for a prominent site in the middle of Newport.

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The Three Fish together. Picture: Planning application

They will give a nod to the town's history of being an inland centre for the fishing industry, its links to the monarchy and mark the culmination of a community project that brought the town together.

Newport Town Council has lodged a planning application with Telford & Wrekin Council to put the three fishes on an existing raised flowerbed at the junction of the High Street and St Mary’s Street and sites at the bottom of the St Nicholas Church island.

The materials chosen to create the fish are recycled. The sculptures are crafted from stainless steel and clad in recycled aluminium ‘fish scales’ cut from recycled aluminium drinks cans.

The scales were created by local people last year as part of a community project for the coronation of King Charles III.

A heritage statement produced by Newport Council says: "The proposed location for the installation of the Community Arts Project Fish Sculptures falls within the boundaries of the Conservation area of Newport.

"The proposed site is an existing raised flowerbed at the junction of the High Street and St Mary’s Street and sites at the bottom of the St Nicholas Church island."

The council adds that Newport began as a deliberately planned Norman new town, situated in a corner of the manor of Edgmond. It was developed at a crossing of the Strine Brook and with a string of meres to the east.

"It is sited where the crossing of the county boundary with Staffordshire meets the major route from London to the North. It had an important inland fishing industry: hence the Three Fishes in the town’s insignia.

"The town was designed around a simple elongated ‘S’ shaped street, widening in the centre to provide an island site for the Church of St Nicholas, the Patron Saint of fishermen."

Newport received its first Charter from King Henry I and this was confirmed and enlarged many times. In return for its usual freedom and privileges granted by the charters, Newport had to provide fish to the Royal Court whenever it was in the area.

The site is also close to the venue where the community art project workshops took place, and its vantage point on the High Street will allow this to be easily seen by locals and visitors alike.

"The fish sculptures serve as a cultural landmark, representing the enduring ties between Newport’s inhabitants and the natural resources that sustained the town, reflecting the town’s heritage and were commissioned in honour of the coronation of His Majesty, King Charles III and further signify the historical link Newport has with the monarchy," the town council says.

Community support for the project was "widespread" according to the council and they add that the engagement will foster a sense of belonging and pride in Newport’s heritage and will ensure ongoing interest in the sculptures as the community visits to see their mark on the project.

"We believe that the addition of this Community Art Project in this location will enhance the aesthetics of the area, providing a strong tie to the town’s heritage, improving the towns sense of community, and will serve as a focal point for local and visitors alike," the council statement reads.

The project details can be viewed at the Telford & Wrekin Council planning portal with the reference number TWC/2024/0152