Complaints that Verity remains surrounded by skips and tools
A COUNCIL has come under fire for failing to complete ground works at Damien Hirst's Verity statue – despite the sculpture being erected more than three months ago.
The 22 metre bronze statue, which has been loaned from the world's richest living artist to North Devon Council for 20 years, was hoisted into place in October last year.
In November a party to celebrate its arrival was held on Ilfracombe and was attended by thousands of people.
However, since the Party On The Pier, Verity has been surrounded by fencing, building tools and skips full of rubbish.
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The council says there is still work to be done on the base of the statue but little has been done since November.
The untidy debris around the sculpture has annoyed several Ilfracombe residents who contacted the Journal to demand that North Devon Council make the work a priority.
Ilfracombe resident Steve Cave said: "I see it from my flat every day and no work is being done, it looks awful.
"I was showing a friend the statue the other day. They loved it but couldn't understand why it was only half done. I had no answers. However much we try and believe in the regeneration of Ilfracombe, the council blows it every time."
Peter O'Toole, a mechanic from Woolacombe, said: "It's not very good, is it? You can't get a good look at it unless you are up on the hill.
"It must have been disappointing for people who have travelled a long way to see it."
Ali Kino from Ilfracombe said: "It's an eyesore, North Devon Council needs to pull its finger out.
"Colleagues from further afield still ask whether it's finished because they want to see when they can walk around the base and there are still lots of visitors arriving weekly who are disappointed, this is very damaging."
Ellen Vernon, North Devon Council's economic development manager, said the work around the base of the statue was originally due to be completed by Christmas.
She said: "However, wet weather, high winds, some high tides and short daylight hours have meant that detailed slate work around the base has taken longer than scheduled.
"Hopefully, the slate work, the lighting and the replacement of the railings will all be fully complete by the end of January.
"We are working with Science Ltd on an enhanced seating and viewing area to include an interpretation sign.
"This will require planning consent and some more construction works, but it will create much more of a visitor space around Verity and give visitors some information about her.
"This is pending planning permission being sought and granted, which is under way."
Damien Hirst's design for the 2013 BRIT awards statues was revealed this week ahead of next month's ceremony.
The world-famous artist, who lives in Combe Martin, has put his own stamp on the prize, adding the multi-coloured dots which he has used in many of his well-known artworks.
His spots have been applied to numerous canvases and even a car over the years.
He follows Dame Vivienne Westwood and Sir Peter Blake in giving the statuette a makeover, and said he had been "honoured" to be asked.
Damien said: "I am honoured to be asked to design this year's statue, it has become such an iconic award, I love the BRITs."
BRITs chairman David Joseph said: "Damien is truly one of the most important British artists and his reimagining of the statue will make winning a 2013 Brits an even more special proposition."