So much for the age of austerity: Fury as council blows 1m on giant 'Slinky' toy sculpture
Shropshire council commissioned the artwork commemorate the 200th birthday of Shrewsbury’s most famous son, Charles DarwinSome have likened it to a slinky spring and even a cow's spineIt cost 200,000 more to make than the Angel of the North
17:38 GMT, 6 December 2012
A council that is slashing jobs in a bid to save 30million a year has been criticised for spending 1million on a 'slinky spring' sculpture.
The concrete artwork – to commemorate the 200th birthday of Shrewsbury’s most famous son, Charles Darwin – even cost 200,000 more than the iconic Angel of the North.
Shropshire Council had originally planned to pay 483,000 for the 39ft high statue – which some have compared to a slinky spring and a cow's spine.
Backlash: The sculpture has been likened to a slinky spring and even a cow's spine
'Waste of money': The artwork has ended up costing 1million, prompting widespread anger
But costs have spiralled to more than 1million, triggering a backlash from furious residents of the market town.
Last week an Audit Commission report exposed a series of failures with the management of the Quantum Leap project – which led to taxpayers paying five times more than they should have.
And there was more outrage yesterday when it emerged the artwork had ended up costing 200,000 more than the world-famous Angel of the North statue.
The structure, which sits beside the A1 in Gateshead, stands at 65ft high with an impressive 175ft wingspan.
In contrast, the smaller-scale Quantum Leap in Shrewsbury is just 39ft high and 57ft.
Labour councillor Jon Tandy, who asked for the Audit Commission to investigate the fiasco, said: 'It is unbelievable. Even the Angel of the North cost less. It should never have been built.
'I realised, and 99 per cent of the general population realised, we were wasting money.'
The sculpture is designed to commemorate the 200th birthday of Shrewsbury's most famous son – Charles Darwin
Money well spent Shrewsbury's artwork cost 200,000 more than the iconic Angel of the North
After the sculpture was erected in September last year, locals slammed the authority for wasting public funds.
Roger Williams, who lives in Shrewsbury, said: 'Does anyone in their right mind think anyone is going to visit Shrewsbury to view a 1million concrete slinky spring
'I think everyone involved with that project needs their head examined.'
Landscape gardener Mark Thomas, 33, added: 'Everyone I know thinks it an eyesore, it just looks out of place in a historic market town like Shrewsbury.
'And the authority has a lot more on it’s plate than building pointless things like this. Its a gross waste of taxpayers cash.'
Steve Charmley, the council’s cabinet member responsible for Quantum Leap, said: 'We are extremely disappointed by the adjudicator’s ruling.'
A spokesman for Gateshead Council said: 'The Angel is a major pull for us. We get a lot of traffic and people go and see it and we know people visit Gateshead because of it.
'It is now one of the most viewed pieces of art in the world and is seen by 33million people every year.'