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Controversial £150,000 sculpture branded ‘poorest work ever submitted’ to UK council will be removed

A 13ft sculpture created to honour Prince Phillip’s educational work is set to be removed due to its “harmful” appearance. Cambridge City Council’s public art officer described it as “possibly the poorest quality work that [had] ever been submitted to the Council”. The sculpture can be found on Hills Road and is said to represent Philip’s role as vice-chancellor of Cambridge University.

The £150,000 figure, named ‘The Don’, was previously linked to artist Pablo Atchugarry, who has since disowned the piece in Cambridge Now, it has been slapped with an enforcement notice after passers-by were left disgruntled by the work. According Atchugarry has previously said: “I am not the author of this sculpture, and it is an abuse that they had used my name. I wish somebody would apologise to me for this misunderstanding.”

On March 5, the sculpture was hit with the notice after it stood strong for four years without receiving planning approval. The note explained it had a “harmful material impact” on the appearance of the area and that it was contrary to policies in the Cambridge Local Plan. It said the sculpture must be permanently removed along with its foundations and plinth within four months from April 11, unless an appeal is made beforehand. The land must also be restored to its former condition prior to the sculpture’s installation

One student previously described it as a “dementor”, whilst another said the face looked like an “elephant’s trunk.” Councillor Katie Thornburrow said that nobody “seems to have a good word to say about it”. She wrote about the removal update in a blog post and said: “I will be glad to see it gone, but remain angry that developers could just dump it in place and then force the council to spend officers’ time and money getting them to take it away. We deserve better.”

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