Taxpayers will have to foot a bill for £1 million after the cost of Shrewsbury’s controversial Quantum Leap sculpture more than doubled.
The news has been met with outrage by those fighting local government cuts.
The sculpture in Mardol Quay has attracted huge controversy since it was created to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin in 2009.
Also known as The Slinky, it was originally due to cost £483,000 but it has emerged that figure has more than doubled after problems with the alignment of ribs in the arch had to be put right. Shropshire Council, which inherited the project from the borough council, revealed it was having to pay the bill after it lost a battle with Alun Griffiths Contractors over the extra expense.
In addition, professional expert advice and legal fees have cost a further £115,000.
Nicky Clark, from the Shropshire Cares Campaign, who fought to keep The Grange day centre for the disabled open, labelled the move as ‘outrageous’. “One million pounds could have kept The Grange going for another five years. The council’s preference for things over people is just ludicrous,” she said.
“The people that need the most support are not going to give a damn about the statue. Where are the council’s priorities? Once again the elderly, disabled, dispossessed and the poor are bottom of the list.”
Councillor Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “Just over a million for a piece of art is a huge price. But it is not something we could do a lot about. It was beyond the point of no return when problems were discovered. We had to continue.”
Julian Davies, from Alun Griffiths Contractors, said he had no comment to make.
by Charlotte Hester