NEW fencing has smartened up a sculpture commemorating Castle Point’s most famous battle.

Shabby fencing had been accused of undermining the look of the new Battle of Benfleet sculpture since it was put up in the town, two months ago.

Now Castle Point Council has rectified the situation with a smart new ornamental fence around the artwork.

The sculpture, in Ferry Road, between Benfleet station and High Road, was put up in December and is designed to look like the dragon figurehead on the prow of a Viking ship.

However, the chain-link fencing alongside it was old and damaged, forcing the council to replace it.

The new fence is four feet tall and made of black steel.

Every other panel in the fence is embellished with a metal outline of a Viking ship, in keeping with the monument’s theme.

Peter Burch, councillor responsible for leisure and open spaces, said: “Together, the sculpture and the new fencing really add to the Benfleet conservation area.

“They act as a reminder of this significant event in Britain’s history, while also improving the visual appearance of the area.

“We hope it will inspire people to learn more about their local history and encourage a sense of pride in the borough.”

The Battle of Benfleet, in the year 894, saw the Saxons repel an attempted invasion by the Vikings.

The Thames and other waterways meant the area was vulnerable to Viking attacks. Benfleet had been a Viking stronghold until King Alfred let the successful attack Essex’s name is derived from the victors of the Battle of Benfleet – the East Saxons.