Padstow to vote on interactive mussel art
A NEW landmark could be heading for Padstow in the form of a giant mussel sculpture.
But the five-metre-high interactive installation, which will use the tide to open and close the mussel, will only get official approval if the people of Padstow give it their backing.
The galvanised steel sculpture, which will light up at night, has the support of the harbour authority and the Environment Agency.
Padstow Town Council will have the final say on whether it is installed on the harbour wall, and it is awaiting the views of local residents before making the decision.
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The artwork by Trevone artist Andy Nicholls will cost around £70,000 and, if residents back the project, he will apply for Arts Council and Lottery funding.
The piece is titled Mytilus, and will celebrate the hooked Padstow mussel, a type of mollusc that is unique to the area.
Mr Nicholls believes the installation will be a focal point for visitors to the town and locals alike.
He said: "I hope very much that the residents of Padstow will support the sculpture, but if they don't want it, that will be the end of it.
"I've been working on the project for 18 months, and have had the help of Tony Coles, a former Rolls Royce engineer, because there are many technical aspects to it involving levers," said the 59-year-old.
Mr Nicholls said the mussel sculpture would open and close slowly with the ebb and flow of the tide, and would have subtle lighting at night.
"It has been designed to last a long time, and is intended to be installed on the flood defence wall at the harbour, which has been supported in principle by the Environment Agency.
"The Harbour Commission have also supported the installation as it will not interfere with the working port.
"The town council has agreed for a public consultation and exhibition to take place on October 1 between 4pm and 9pm when residents will be asked to fill in a questionnaire.
"It will then be up to the people of Padstow if they want the mussel sculpture or not, but I very much hope they will support it."
Padstow mayor Terri Walter said her town council would only allow the sculpture to go ahead if residents wanted it.
"It's very important that the people of Padstow decide whether it should be installed, as it is their town, and we as a council will follow what they have to say on the subject," she said.