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War Horse: Safety on Norfolk's roads must come first says county council

PUBLISHED: 14:58 17 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:54 17 November 2017

Damian O'Connor's War Horse sculpture which has been placed at a number of Norfolk roundabouts. Picture: Damian O'Connor

Damian O'Connor's War Horse sculpture which has been placed at a number of Norfolk roundabouts. Picture: Damian O'Connor

Archant

Norfolk County Council said its demand that a Taverham artist remove a giant horse from roundabouts in Norfolk was to ensure the safety of road users.

Damian O'Connor's War Horse sculpture which has been placed at a number of Norfolk roundabouts. Picture: Damian O'ConnorDamian O'Connor's War Horse sculpture which has been placed at a number of Norfolk roundabouts. Picture: Damian O'Connor

A county council spokesperson said safety on Norfolk roads “must come first”.

The spokesperson said: “As the highways authority we have a legal duty to carefully consider requests to put anything on highway land to be sure it doesn’t cause an unnecessary or dangerous obstruction, or reduce visibility for drivers, walkers or cyclists.

“We know that new road layouts can take time for people to get used to so we need to avoid distractions and do not want a situation where a driver collides with such a large and heavy object which has been placed without permission.

“We have used our discretion in this case but now had to ask that the sculpture is removed and the owner finds a more suitable place to promote the artwork.”

The giant ‘War Horse’, which is on a trailer and weighs a ton, is made from steel, wood and reeds.

It belongs to artist Damian O’Connor who defended its placement at the roundabouts after he received a letter from the county council ordering him to remove it or face possible “enforcement action”.

He said he had a fascination with horses and had always wanted one “so I decided to make one”.

He began work on the sculpture in October last year and finished it in August.

“I have been moving it around for the past few months and have placed it on about 10 roundabouts along the NDR, A140 Cromer road, Holt Road and Fakenham Road,” he said.

“I’ve had a lot of feedback which has been very positive,” he said.

The story elicited a number of online comments from readers who either supported him or said he should have sought permission first.

Belleh90 said: “I was thrilled to see this beautiful sculpture on the opening weekend of the first stretch of the NDR.”

But ‘A fine city’ posted: “You don’t have the right to dump your sculptures in the middle of roundabouts.”

In an online poll which asked if people thought the horse was a danger to road users, 84pc of respondents had voted no at the time of writing.

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