December 8 2013 Latest news:
Lizzie Dearden, Reporter
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
The controversial “peace dove” that lit up Seven Kings over the festive period last year has been knocked off its perch in favour of a Christmas tree.
Redbridge Council’s area committee five spent £11,500 on the illuminated dove on a 10ft pole, surrounded by light displays symbolising world religions.
It was intended to be used for three years outside Seven Kings train station, in High Road, but new council rules meant the plans had to be scrapped.
At a meeting last week, the committee chose to have a Christmas tree, costing £1,800, and last year’s religious symbols instead of the dove.
The multi-faith lights will be on display in time for Eid-Ul-Adha on Tuesday.
Cllr Balvinder Saund said she would miss the distinctive dove.
She added: “I’m so disappointed because I had so much positive feedback last year and people are already asking me when the dove will be back.”
The unusual display divided residents, with many calling for the return of a Christmas tree.
Shane St Louis, of Seven Kings, said: “Christmas is a celebration for one religion so I don’t really get why others need to be included.”
But Sophie Pinner, of Chadwell Heath, said it was “inspirational” to include all faiths in the display for the first time and Peter Ilaabuchr, of Seven Kings thought it was “a more up-to-date way of doing festive decorations”.
The dove was intended to symbolise harmony through Eid-Ul-Adha, Diwali, the birthday of Guru Nanak Dev sahib, Christmas and Hanukkah.
Some onlookers missed the point entirely, with one confusing it with a pigeon.
The committee could have spent an extra £7,500 to get the dove back but some councillors argued it was not a priority for residents.
Cllr Ali Hai said: “Around the area this weekend I saw mattresses and rubbish dumped on every other street corner.
“If you ask residents, they say they want a clean, tidy place to live - then we can have the lights.”
Cllr Wes Streeting said a balance needed to be struck in “difficult times” for the council and residents.
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