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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 April 2007, 13:19 GMT 14:19 UK
Controversial sculpture defended
The partially-finished armillary sculpture in Stratford-on-Avon
The armillary, pictured here during its construction, will be lit at night
An artist has defended a controversial sculpture in Stratford-on-Avon after the town's former mayor claimed people had been screaming obscenities at it.

Mick Thacker said the giant armillary - a 16th Century tool showing the planets orbiting around the sun - would become as well-loved as the Statue of Liberty.

The 100,000 partly-submerged structure sits on a roundabout at the junction of Trinity Road and Banbury Road.

Former mayor Cyril Bennis has labelled it "irrelevant" to the town.

But Mr Thacker said the armillary was an important symbol of the 16th Century, during which the town's famous son William Shakespeare also lived.

'Delicate and English'

He added: "The Angel of the North, the Iron Man in Birmingham, and the Statue of Liberty all started with public discord at first but they were eventually accepted and loved by the public.

"Give it time and the people will become used to it.

"It's not yet finished - we are going to light up the middle section which represents the sun at night and create a camomile lawn, juxtaposing the steel with something very delicate and English."

He added that the sculpture had been given planning permission and had been put out to public consultation.

Roundabout sculpture 'irrelevant'
09 Apr 07 |  Coventry/Warwickshire

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