PLANS to install a 7.8m tall elephant sculpture on one of Colchester’s busiest roundabouts have been shelved.

Colchester Council approved plans for the wayfinding statue on the Albert roundabout in March last year as part of the £200,000 Fixing the Link scheme involving Essex County Council and Greater Anglia.

The sculpture works were set to begin in the spring and take four weeks to finish but delays plagued the project.

Now the elephant sculpture, which was expected to cost up to £90,000, has been abandoned.

Martin Goss, Colchester Council’s environment boss, said: “We are looking at alternative ways of enhancing the link between the North Station and the town centre which has, in part, come about from the work we are doing with Essex County Council to improve sustainable transport along that route.

“I envisage the resources previously earmarked for the sculpture will now be directed to greening the Fixing the Link route from the station to the town.”

Braintree and Witham Times:

  • Colchester elephant statue plan. Image: Dallas-Pierce-Quintero

The £200,000 project had originally included the elephant, new lighting, landscaping and improved CCTV.

The proposal divided opinion with many residents questioning whether public art should be a spending priority for cash-strapped councils.

Colchester MP Will Quince raised the matter in Parliament while Kevin Bentley, Essex County Council’s deputy leader, moved to distance the authority from the sculpture saying the detail had not been discussed with him.

The elephant design was inspired by tales of Emperor Claudius’s dramatic arrival into Colchester with a herd of elephants to celebrate the victory of the Roman invasion in 43 AD.

Colchester High Steward Sir Bob Russell, said: “I am delighted to hear common sense has broken out and wasteful expenditure of approaching £90,000 will not now be spent on this dismembered statue of an elephant which would have been a potential road safety hazard with some drivers being distracted at what is a busy and dangerous roundabout.

“How on earth this scheme was ever thought of is astonishing.”

He added: “I think the public need to be told if the statue was made. Also, how much money has been spent to date. Certainly a lot of officer time from both councils has been spent on this nonsense.”