Controversy over Plymouth’s big build plans

A public row has erupted over plans to build a £3,000 replica of the famous Mayflower ship out of balloons as part of the Mayflower 2020 festival, held in Plymouth.

Festival organisers have given balloon artist Olivia Post permission to recreate the vessel using around 10,000 balloons. She is hoping to raise £3,000 to pay for the special balloons and the artists.

Local newspaper Plymouth Live featured her story last week but have since seen a backlash from members of the public who believe it to be a contentious decision for both environmental and financial reasons.

Supporters say the concerns over the environment have been blown out of proportion.

The plans for the structure include a walk-through experience which will allow visitors to explore a recreation of the landscape of the East Coast of the American continent.

Olivia hopes to bring about 20 artists, including some from abroad, to built the structure  – which will last for approximately one week – in October this year..

A wide range of responses could be seen ‘below the line’ in the comments Plymouth Live’s Facebook page when the story was published. Many highlighted the irony of Plymouth’ plans to host the scuplture, in light of the fact that it only recently acquired its ‘plastic-free’ status’ status, while others believed the money would be better used to create a permanent artwork which could be kept and used as a tourist attraction.

Lee Reilly of Twisted Creations said: “[Latex balloons] do decompose. I won’t deny they can end up in the sea and cause harm but so can all other rubbish we don’t dispose of correctly. If you notice this project is done in a responsible way and the latex is from plantations that have a positive effect on our CO2 production. We need more trees not less!”

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