Talks over the future of floating artwork

Nick Spurr with Flow.
Nick Spurr with Flow.

A quirky piece of floating artwork which attracted 40,000 visitors is due to return to its birthplace today, amid talks of keeping it there indefinitely.

And the boatyard boss whose Amble-based company built the eye-catching structure said it would be ‘tremendous’ if it could become a permanent attraction in its home town.

Floating tidemill Flow has been docked on the River Tyne for around six months and featured electro-acoustic musical machinery which responds to the changes in the water, powered by a huge waterwheel.

It is due to be transported back to Amble today, weather permitting, having closed its doors to the public on Tyneside on Sunday.

Flow is to remain at the pontoon at Amble Boat Company – which won the commission to build it – until the middle of October while discussions continue over its future.

Potential partners have voiced an interest but if nothing can be agreed, its instruments will become part of the portfolio of Owl Project – which helped create Flow alongside Ed Carter – while the millhouse, wheel and hulls stand to be dismantled and recycled.

However, Amble Town Council and Amble Development Trust are discussing the possibility of trying to keep Flow in Amble for the long term.

And Nick Spurr, of Amble Boat Company, would back Flow staying in its home town for good.

He said: “It would be tremendous. It would be a fitting conclusion.

“There is a lot of enthusiasm locally to put a bid in but I know there is a bit to think about, such as insurance, maintenance and creating the right access to it.”

The instruments were removed before its journey to Amble, but Mr Spurr feels that any bid made for Flow should be ‘inclusive of the instruments’ otherwise it would just be ‘a floating shed with a waterwheel’.

Mr Spurr said it would need maintaining but his gut feeling was that it would last five to 10 years in its current state.

He added that the company would by sympathetic to Flow and would take on the maintenance but would not be able to do it for free.

At Amble Town Council’s meeting on Thursday, members agreed to support the idea of having Flow in Amble but said they needed more information.

Julia Aston, from Amble Development Trust, said opportunities were being explored but cost details. were required.