Cost of new Blackpool statue 'which could look like street performer' is revealed

Picture: Blackpool CouncilPicture: Blackpool Council
Picture: Blackpool Council
The cost of a new statue near Blackpool's North Pier, which could look like a street performer, has been revealed.

The figure, described as a 'contemporary mermaid', was announced last week by the council, which did not immediately say how much it would cost.

Now, in response to a Freedom of Information request by The Gazette, it said the costs, including artist Laurence Payot's commission and installation fees, will total £35,500.

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The authority said it is using "100 per cent external grant funding provided to Blackpool Council to deliver this project" while, in its announcement last week, it said it had "commissioned the project as part of the wider plans for the town centre regeneration".

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The statue will be "inspired by sea goddesses and heroes across cultures" with Laurence Payot hoping it will "be made for people living and working" in the resort.

The authority added: “Playing with the long-standing traditions of magic and illusions, people will be unsure whether the artwork is a street performer disguised as a statue.”

The council’s arts boss, Coun Kim Critchley, added: “Blackpool is a vibrant town so we hope that this statue will become a talking point for residents and visitors alike.

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“This project is all part of the council’s plan to revive the town centre and deliver a better Blackpool for everyone.”

But Coun Tony Williams, the opposition leader at the town hall, questioned whether the money needed to be spent when "the town has serious issues".

He said: "What a total waste of money. They could hire the real thing. Why not hold a competition for street performers on the Prom? That would be far more interesting.

"They have stopped street performers working in Blackpool, and now they will build a statue that looks like one."

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The statue will "reflect on Blackpool's achievements to improve the quality of the town's sea water with all four of the beaches - south, central, north, and Bispham, receiving a Seaside Award earlier this year", the council added, with the hunt on for a young woman from the town to become the model for the cast.

The public are also being asked to have their say on the design.

Laurence held a series of workshops and sessions with a consultant called Scott Farlow, while fashion students from Blackpool and The Fylde College took part in a couple of workshops during the summer.

And in August, staff and volunteers from the beach patrol team took part in a session to help design the artwork.

Send your suggestions to [email protected] by Sunday, December 1.