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Landmark decision

PUBLISHED: 16:37 11 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:27 23 August 2010

UNMISTAKABLE: How the landmark will look

UNMISTAKABLE: How the landmark will look

PROJECT chiefs admit a 50-metre tall white horse chosen as the Angel of the South may not be built in time for the 2012 London Olympics. The Ebbsfleet Landmark Project Panel announced on Tuesday that Turner prize-winning artist Mark Wallinger s Horsa

PROJECT chiefs admit a 50-metre tall white horse chosen as the 'Angel of the South' may not be built in time for the 2012 London Olympics.

The Ebbsfleet Landmark Project Panel announced on Tuesday that Turner prize-winning artist Mark Wallinger's "Horsa" had won ahead of four other entrants.

But the winner's unveiling at Swan Valley Community School, Southfleet Road, Swanscombe, was marred by fears it will not be ready in time for the world's biggest sporting event due to the economic downturn and planning regulations.

The landmark, which will stand as tall as Nelson's Column in London, is to be created at Springhead Park, overlooking the Ebbsfleet Valley, and is expected to attract 60 million people a year.

Stephen Jordan, chair of the Ebbsfleet Landmark Project Board, said: "Nobody has built a 50-metre high horse before.

"We have a year of intense work ahead of us to go through planning which is expected to last for 12 months. I can't tell you exactly when it will be completed, but erecting the landmark in time for 2012 could be a bit tight. But we are committed to this project and it is still very much alive."

More than 50,000 visitors to Bluewater shopping centre commented on the five-shortlisted designs during an exhibition held between May and August last year.

But in December last year the Dartford and Swanley Times revealed an estimated £1 million of funding still needed securing.

Project bosses hoped the landmark would be in place by London 2012 with Ebbsfleet International Station a key transport link to the site in Stratford, East London.

Mr Jordan added: "The artists budget was £2 million, but whether that is enough, I don't know yet. That will be decided in the planning process.

"In spite of the recession, this project remains important for the 25 year task of building sustainable communities in the Ebbsfleet Valley and strong economic development around the Ebbsfleet International Station."

The project was commissioned by three patrons - Eurostar, Land Securities and London and Continental Railways - and they committed in excess of £1 million towards the cost. The final cost of the project will not be known until the planning process has been completed.

The design, which is 33 times bigger than life size, was chosen from a shortlist of five entrants from major artists, including Richard Deacon's "Nest" a steel lattice, and Daniel Buren's Signal, with a laser pointing skywards surrounded by a pyramid of hollow cubes.

Winning designer Mark Wallinger said: "This is a tremendously exciting project. There is some very tough competition and I am honoured that the horse won through.

"I wanted something simple, but spectacular.

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