Page last updated at 15:25 GMT, Thursday, 22 January 2009

Gormley's plea on 'bang' landmark

B of the Bang
Nine of its 180 steel spikes had to be removed after one fell off

Angel of the North creator Anthony Gormley has urged council bosses not to scrap Manchester's controversial B of the Bang sculpture.

The future of the 184ft (56m) artwork, unveiled near the City of Manchester stadium in 2005, is in doubt after being plagued by safety problems.

Nine of its 180 steel spikes have since been removed after one fell off, and the sculpture remains fenced off.

But Mr Gormley has urged the council to "hold its nerve" with the landmark.

Writing to chief executive Sir Howard Bernstein, he described the 150-tonne landmark as "remarkable, dynamic and engaging".

"It is a great tribute to Manchester that this ground-breaking work was commissioned," said the Turner Prize winner.

"To allow it to disappear would be a loss not just of an inspirational artwork but also of the council's nerve."

We are carefully considering the options for the future of the sculpture.
Council spokesman

B of the Bang was commissioned by the council to mark Manchester's Commonwealth Games in 2002.

But one of its steel spikes fell off within two weeks of its unveiling, a further nine have been removed and it remains fenced off on health and safety grounds.

The authority was set to take designer Thomas Heatherwick Studio Ltd to court over the issue until it agreed to pay 1.7m in an out-of-court settlement.

A city council spokesman said: "Together with our partners and the sculpture's other funders, we are carefully considering the options for the future of the sculpture.

"We hope to be in a position to report the outcome of this work to the council's executive committee in February."

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