‘Pile of rubble’ artwork gets approved on a Milton Keynes beauty spot

A house-sized artwork that an objector called a ‘pile of rubble’ has been given the green light to be built on grassland in Milton Keynes.

Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 7:06 pm
Updated Thursday, 27th February 2020, 10:17 am

The Fossil House, a full-size cast of a quarter of a domestic house, has been commissioned by Milton Keynes Council from London-based artists Something and Son, and produced by Aldo Rinaldi.

The council’s planning department gave the scheme near Powis Lane, in Oxley Park the go-ahead in an officer decision on December 5.

It didn’t impress one local resident from Gomez Close who commented on the MK Council planning website.

“This so called piece of art work is awful,” the objector wrote. “Whoever decided on it clearly has no taste and for what it’s worth shouldn’t the Oxley Park residents have a say on different ideas of what is proposed for their estate?

“All this will do is attract undesirables or provide criminals with further shelter to do their dodgy dealings from. I’m glad I don’t live in sight of where it’s proposed or I’d be moving as I wouldn’t want to look out of a piece of rubble named art.”

Shenley Church End Parish Council also said they had concerns, including the “intellectual merit of the design” adding it could become a central point for anti-social behaviour in the evenings.

The Fossil as it is referred to resembles an archaeological dig site, with remnants of a house emerging from the earth.

For their part, the designers say it has been designed to provide a platform similar to a traditional bandstand which will house a low key, community-led public programme.

“The arrangement of the Fossil House and the foundation seating is loosely derived from a standard house typology in the existing adjacent residential communities,” they say in their submission to the planners.

Planners, in their decision documents, say they consider the open space near Powis Lane “surplus to requirements” and the development would “not have a detrimental effect on the open space, environmental, landscape character or wildlife value of the open space.” Indeed, they think it could enhance the open space.

They said that the proposal is in line with the council’s creative and cultural strategy.

In an attempt to deal with possible anti-social behaviour the council, MK Gallery, and Something and Son plan a year’s worth of events.

They’re also hoping to create a community group called Friends of the Fossil. The Parks Trust will be given an endowment to maintain it.

Countering claims that local residents were not involved in the process, senior planning officer Duncan Law says in his decision report that: “It is of note that a significant amount of consultation with residents and local interest groups including the parish council was undertaken prior to the submission.”

MK Council confirmed it would be paid for by money given to the council by developers for arts purposes.