A new £22,000 sign welcoming shoppers to Arbroath High Street has drawn unfavourable comparisons to the notorious entrance of a Nazi death camp.
Residents have been quick to point out the similarities between the new signage in Applegate and the ‘Arbeit Mach Frei’ gate that stands over Auschwitz in Poland.
A picture of the Arbroath sign, which says ‘Welcome to Arbroath High Street’, was posted on Facebook this week and soon attracted criticism for its appearance, location and cost.
Several people posted pictures of the Auschwitz sign by way of comparison. One person wrote: “Shopping sets you free” – a reference to the translated Nazi slogan Work Sets You Free.
The Tele visited shoppers in Applegate yesterday, and found one man shaking his head and looking up at the sign.
The 67-year-old said: “The last time I saw something like that was on a visit to Auschwitz.
“It’s a total waste of money and it doesn’t matter if the community council got money towards it. It could have been done for a lot less.”
Leisa McQuade, 47, said the sign is “quite high up and it isn’t very obvious or visible at first”.
Zoe O’Dell, 33, said: “The sign is so high and the size of the letters are so small you hardly see it.”
However, Janet Rodger said: “I quite like it. I never noticed the sign before, but I had seen it on Facebook.”
The cash for the sign came from a government drive called “community choices”, designed to give people a say on how to brighten up the town.
The Royal Burgh of Arbroath Community Council, which erected the sign, referred the Tele to its Facebook statement, which read: “The community council wanted to provide clarity to recent comments on Facebook regarding the Applegate sign.
“The £22,000 cost of the sign, was not just for the sign itself. This figure is inclusive of the design and fabrication of the sign, planning permission, legal documents with both business and property owners.
“We were given professional advice for the chosen contractors and decided to go with them. The omission of any blacksmiths from Arbroath was not deliberate, nor a reflection on any individual or business. The chosen contractors are from the Angus burgh.”