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Artist sculpture for Ilfracombe gets planning permission

[Wednesday 5 September 2012]

Photo - View of Ilfracombe harbour

Plans to erect a 20 metre Damien Hirst sculpture in Ilfracombe have been given the go ahead today.

The North Devon Council Planning Committee approved the application for the sculpture, called Verity, on Ilfracombe Pier.

Members heard that the sculpture is an important new project, bringing with it the possibility of attracting further investment for the town and local economy.

Executive Member for Strategic Planning and Development at Ilfracombe, Councillor Mike Edmunds, says: "I am really excited that Verity will be coming to Ilfracombe. The sculpture has been the subject of a lot of talk in the town over the last few months, which, after all is what artwork is about - being subjective and engaging. So when the sculpture finally gets here, I am confident it will contribute greatly to the town's regeneration, by encouraging more tourists to check out what all the talk's been about and spend time in our lovely town."

Local ward member, Councillor Paul Yabsley, says: "There has been a lot of controversy around the possibility of the statue coming to Ilfracombe. In fact, controversy is what gives it strength, which will benefit the town. It will be a catalyst for growth, attracting attention and more visitors in the same way art has contributed to St Ives. Through projects like this, it will provide opportunities for our young people who want to stay in the area as they are our future."

Local ward member, Councillor Paul Crabb, says: "I've always been clear about the need for Ilfracombe's regeneration. Despite the views being split on this statue, I firmly believe that Verity will contribute to its regeneration without question."

The council's Executive will now meet tomorrow (Thursday 5 September) to decide whether to officially accept the loan of the artwork for the next 20 years.

If given the go ahead, groundwork is planned to start on site later this month, with the sculpture due to arrive at the beginning of October. It is then expected the sculpture will be erected around 17/18 October, ready for unveiling towards the end of the month.

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