Dream graffiti 'will no longer be tolerated' says St Helens councillor

The Dream
The Dream

Vandalism and graffiti at Dream will no longer be tolerated, a senior councillor has warned.


The artwork has been repeatedly targeted by graffiti vandals over the past decade, figures obtained via a Freedom of Information request have revealed.

Hundreds of visitors gathered at the former Sutton Manor Colliery site last Friday to celebrate the iconic sculpture’s 10th anniversary.

While the award-winning sculpture is not regularly cleaned, a full clean did take place earlier this year in preparation for the commemoration event.

Work was also carried out to make graffiti easier to clean off after the sculpture was targeted on numerous occasions over the past ten years.

A response to a Freedom of Information request submitted to St Helens Council has revealed that work was carried out to remove graffiti in 2012, twice in 2013, twice in 2014 and 2016.

Labour’s Jeanie Bell, cabinet member for community safety, said this will “no longer be tolerated”.

Cloun Bell said: “Dream is a wonderful piece of artwork which is enjoyed by more than eighty thousand visitors a year – but graffiti and vandalism does cause misery for those who have to live near it and look at it every day.

“It’s a level of disrespect that will no longer be tolerated in this borough.

“A full clean of Dream and its surroundings was recently completed ahead of its 10th anniversary celebrations and this work included treatment to make any subsequent damage like graffiti easier to clean.

“It lies in a remote site not owned by the council with no power or water source, and the area is also home to a diverse range of wildlife so this can also constrain the sort of materials used.

“When reports of vandalism or graffiti are made, the council will arrange for the necessary repairs to be carried out.

“But with no staff based on site it can be difficult to obtain the evidence needed to prosecute offenders.”

Unveiled in spring 2009, the Dream was part of the Big Art Project, a major national public art initiative linked to Channel 4.

Spanish artist Jaume Plensa was commissioned to create the sculpture, which stands 20 metres tall on the former Sutton Manor Colliery.

The iconic landmark is carved to resemble the head and neck of a young woman with her eyes closed in meditation, dreaming of a better future for St Helens.

The statue is coated in white Spanish dolomite, as a contrast to the coal which used to be mined there.

Plensa worked with a group of ex-miners to construct the 500-tonne art piece, which took more than 6,000 hours to build.

Since 2009, no regular cleaning of the statue has taken place.

However, the Dream has been cleaned on a handful of occasions and various upgrades and repairs have also been carried out.

In total, £52,314 has been spent on the upkeep of the Dream since 2009.

To help preserve the iconic landmark, members of the public are being urged to report any acts of vandalism to the council.

Coun Bell said: “As part of our #Ready2Report campaign, we would urge visitors who witness any form of damage being carried out to the sculpture to report it to the council with as much information as possible so that we can take the appropriate action.”

For more information on #Ready2Report and how to report anti-social behaviour visit: safersthelens.org.uk