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Were new Landmark designs forced on us?

PUBLISHED: 11:56 28 August 2008 | UPDATED: 10:02 23 August 2010

fuming: Graham Clarke. PICTURE: Granville Davies

fuming: Graham Clarke. PICTURE: Granville Davies

A RESPECTED artist has slammed designs for a massive 150ft iconic sculpture planned for north Kent. Graham Clarke, president of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) Kent, spoke out as an exhibition for Ebbsfleet s £2 million Angel of the South co

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A RESPECTED artist has slammed designs for a massive 150ft iconic sculpture planned for north Kent.

Graham Clarke, president of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) Kent, spoke out as an exhibition for Ebbsfleet's £2 million Angel of the South competition closed at Bluewater yesterday.

The competition boasts Turner Prize winners among its ranks including Mark Wallinger with his Horsa design.

Mr Clarke accused the organisers of forcing their project through against the wishes of Kent residents.

He said: "I feel strongly about this project and have had a lot of residents approach me with reservations over the designs.

"We should have been given a much broader set of ideas. The whole thing seems badly conceived and should have been organised by the authorities.

"The first thing we knew about this is when they announced there was a shortlist of five artists in the frame to do a design for a huge sculpture.

"Mark Wallinger's plan seems to have the most Kentish themes but even those are ill thought out and not well-researched.

"You could go and buy a plastic farm set for kids and arrive at the same result - that's not sculpture.

"I feel very sorry for the Lord Lieutenant of Kent, Alan Willett, as head judge, he loves Kent but could be in charge of something that people don't want."

Mr Clarke was asked to back a campaign run by Kent County Council pushing for an adapted Wallinger design portraying Kent's heritage through the Invicta white horse rearing up.

He added: "I feel strongly that we should have a proper Invicta horse.

"If the people in this county do not get the horse they want, it will be received very badly.

"It's as if a bunch of sponsors have decided this is what we are going to do and it doesn't really matter what residents want.

"Trying to compete with the Angel of the North by making it taller or whatever is pathetic.

"Antony Gormley lived and worked in the north east, he is a true part of where the exhibit is. None of the five shortlisted artists for Kent's sculpture have anything to do with the county.

"But I can't see Mark Wallinger changing his design because he would lose credibility as an artist."

The project being run by Eurostar, London and Continental Railways and Land Securities could be created near Ebbsfleet International by next year.

A spokesman for Bolton Quinn PR - the company which acts on behalf of the Landmark sponsors, were unavailable for comment.

martin.sawden@archant.co.uk

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