DISAPPOINTMENT was in the air when a rainbow puffin crossing did not emerge in time for Warwickshire Pride despite promises from county bosses.
Plans are still underway, Warwickshire County Council (WCC) has reassured, for a rainbow crossing near Leamington’s Pump Room Gardens to recognise the LGBTQ community.
The new-look crossing has been funded by former county councillor Nicola Davies from her delegated budget.
The crossing was set to be painted last week, in time for the weekend’s Warwickshire Pride event, but members turned up the day after its proposed make-over to find it unpainted.
A torrent of social media comments followed, asking the council for answers, to which it explained the specialist materials – which are actually a kind of resin rather than paint – had not yet arrived.
Warwickshire Pride chair Daniel Browne said: “After so much hype, build up and promotion, it was incredibly disappointing to arrive at the crossing to find it hadn’t been painted.
“Apparently, there are delays with getting the paint to the UK. We weren’t aware the paint was not being sourced as locally as possible and while delays are out of Warwickshire County Council’s control, it’s not much to ask for a bit of courtesy in letting us know the crossing wasn’t going to be painted. Instead, they continued to promote it and say the crossing would be painted as planned.”
WCC has apologised.
A spokesperson responded: “The rainbow crossing in Leamington will be installed as soon as the materials arrive. Unfortunately, the specialist paint, which is coming from abroad has been delayed. Although this is completely out of our control, we apologise for the delay.
“Please be assured that Warwickshire County Council’s Highways team have been doing everything possible to ensure the paint arrives for the work to be completed. We know how important the rainbow crossing is and we are committed to it being installed to help celebrate diversity within our communities.”
Despite the disappointing delay, Daniel said the Pride community remained grateful for the gesture.
He added: “It’s embarrassing, but hiccups happen and we are incredibly grateful to Warwickshire County Council for remaining committed to painting the crossing and the positive message it will send.
“After being subjected to so much hate last week over a rainbow crossing being painted, there is plenty of evidence to show why the crossing is so important and why we need this positive message being ‘pushed in people’s faces’, or ‘rammed down their throats’.
“Hopefully the rainbow crossing in Leamington is the first of several around the county. There is already a lot of demand from people in other towns across Warwickshire, so perhaps there are conversations to be had. It would be a positive sign of support and solidarity for LGBTQ people all over Warwickshire and send a clear message that hate is not welcome, LGBTQ people are, and that love and pride will always win.”
WCC says it is expecting to receive the materials later today (Wednesday).