Page last updated at 14:44 GMT, Monday, 2 February 2009

2m landmark on course for 2012

White Horse design
Mark Wallinger is proposing a 33-times life-size horse

Organisers of the "angel of the south" sculpture in Kent are still hoping it will be in place for the London 2012 Olympics, despite the recession.

Project manager Mark Davy revealed there could be short-term funding problems for the Ebbsfleet scheme.

He said he still expected long-term investment to be made in the privately-funded project, because of its stature.

And he added: "The original intention was to get it for 2012, and I hope that's what happens."

A shortlist of three proposals was announced for the 2m hilltop landmark scheme last October.

The winner is due to be announced on Tuesday.

The shortlist of three included a sculpture of a giant horse, a tower of stacked cubes and a steel "nest", by artists Mark Wallinger, Richard Deacon and Daniel Buren.

The project has seen opposition from some residents who have complained that artists' proposals were selected before public consultation got under way.

Adam Bird, from the Say No to Ebbsfleet Landmark, said: "It came out of the blue and we were told that there were going to be five landmarks to choose from and we never had any say in how they were chosen."

But Mr Davy said organisers were faced with the task of finding "major artists with a big tradition of working on a large-scale".

And he added: "There are not many of them."

Recession fears

The Ebbsfleet Landmark Project has been dubbed the "angel of the south", in reference to Antony Gormley's sculpture which overlooks the A1 motorway in Gateshead.

It was commissioned by Eurostar, London & Continental Railways and Land Securities, the developers of Ebbsfleet Valley.

On the BBC's Politics Show, Mr Davy revealed there could be problems finding all the funding in the short-term, and he said it was "hard to know" whether people would invest during a recession.

But he added: "Long term, it will be invested in because this is a project that's part of the 25-year project in Ebbsfleet Valley. I think the stature of the project is what will attract the funding."

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