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Last Updated: Monday, 18 July, 2005, 12:50 GMT 13:50 UK
Gateway sculpture moves forward
B of the bang, The Eiffel Tower, London Eye, Statue of Liberty, The Angel of the North and  Willowman
Iconic symbols help identify places
A 1m sculpture to rival the Angel of the North as a gateway to south Wales is a step closer to reality after a meeting with assembly officials.

Capital Regional Tourism (CRT) presented an idea to assembly members to build an iconic image to represent the area's cultural identity.

But although the scheme was considered "interesting", ministers have yet to commit to the project.

However, discussions are continuing between the bodies about the proposals.

Economic Development Minister Andrew Davies and Culture Minister Alun Pugh met CRT members to discuss the scheme which could see a sculpture as big as the 70ft high Angel in Gateshead.

Following the meeting, Mr Davies said: "Alun Pugh and I had a meeting with Capital Region Tourism, the south-east Wales regional tourism partnership, and it came forward with interesting proposals for an iconic landmark similar to the Angel of the North in Gateshead.

"We are looking at issues such as whether it is appropriate to have only one landmark, or several in different parts of Wales.

"It is certainly an interesting idea, and we are continuing discussions with all the key partners, including the Regional Tourism Partnerships, but it is too soon to commit to taking forward this project," he added.

Sites near the Second Severn Crossing, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport have been suggested.

The cost of the project has been estimated at 950,000, although there have been warnings it could rise.

CRT, which promotes tourism in south east Wales, commissioned a study to identify possible sites for the sculpture.

These include locations near the Severn Estuary, Wilcrick Hill, an iron age fort visible from the M4 when entering Wales, Brynglas Hill at Newport and Plinth at Taffs Well.

ICONS - TALL AND SHORTER
Eiffel Tower, Paris (985ft, 1889) Alexandre Gustave Eiffel
London Eye (450ft, 2000), Marks Barfield Architects
B Of The Bang, Manchester (184ft, 2005) Thomas Heatherwick
Statue of Liberty, Manhattan (151ft, 1886) Frederic Auguste Bartholdi
Angel of the North, Gateshead (70ft 1998), Antony Gormley
Willowman, off M5, Bridgewater, Somerset (40ft, 2000) Serena de le Hey

The Cefncoed Viaduct near Merthyr Tydfil and the junction of the A4060 and A465 Heads of the Valleys road have also been short listed as potential sites.

The initial report was commissioned after CRT Trade Director John Wake highlighted a perceived lack of iconic structures in Wales.

"One of the biggest challenges which continues to face the tourism industry in Wales is that, despite continuing efforts, Wales is not perceived as a strong brand on the international market," he said.

Dramatic work

"The Eiffel Tower, although not typically French when first established, has become one of the most famous tourist attractions in the world and a premiere landmark which is now directly associated with not just Paris but France as a whole.

"We have been fighting for an icon for a long time now and are hopeful that, with the backing of the assembly, the dream of truly representing Wales through a dramatic work of public art will be realised."

Among artists on a list to be approached are Thomas Heatherwick who designed the B of the Bang in Manchester and Antony Gormley who created the Angel of the North in 1998.




SEE ALSO:
Gateway sculpture plan for Wales
05 May 05 |  South East Wales
The very big Bang
13 Jan 05 |  Magazine


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