Page last updated at 16:05 GMT, Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Problems mount for river art work

An impression of Tubulence in Cardigan
An artist impression of how the floating, illuminated artwork may look in the river

A controversial 400,000 art project has been dealt a further blow with the news that a group responsible for its maintenance has pulled out.

The work called Turbulence is part of Channel 4's Big Art Project, but it has created waves in Cardigan, Ceredigion.

In November, 2,000 people signed a petition objecting to the avant-garde design, and now the town's chamber of commerce has quit the scheme.

Channel 4 said the project had always been about what people wanted.

The chamber of commerce was to have maintained the set of 127 buoys, containing lights and speakers, which are planned to float on the River Teifi.

But chamber chair Paul Oakley said his members had decided not to continue with the project.

"There were one or two things I wasn't happy about personally, and I felt I should ask the members to consider them," said Mr Oakley.

"It became apparent that our only involvement was to manage the maintenance contracts once the installation was in place.

"Members felt we were not in to doing a long-term project of that kind, especially in the current economic climate."

In November, objectors to the art work claimed it was a "silly idea".

A 2,250-signature petition opposing the project was handed to the Conservative leader in the Welsh assembly Nick Bourne at the Cardiff Bay Senedd.

Cardigan is one of seven areas in the UK chosen to host artwork as part of Channel 4's Big Art Project, which aims to involve people in major public works of art.

Channel Four said: "A Big Art Project is a bold and ambitious programme that offers the public the opportunity to commission art.

"It has always been about what the public want and an ongoing dialogue is part of that."

Bafta award-winning artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer has been commissioned to produce the sculpture at a cost of around 400,000.

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