Towering tip to honor the queen becomes a sore point for the locals

A sculpture dedicated to the queen, which will be three times as large as the angel of the north, has been given the green light after a viscount won a planning appeal.

Also known as the Ascendant, Elizabeth Landmark will be the largest sculpture in Britain, standing 55 meters high on Cold Law Hill near the village of Kirkwhelpington.

The Planning Inspectorate overturned the Northumberland County Council’s 2019 decision to block the sculpture’s construction on the private land owned by 3rd Viscount Devonport Terence Kearley.

Following the decision, the project will now undertake a period of detailed structural design and fundraising – with up to £ 3 million deemed necessary – before construction begins.

Designed by artist Simon Hitchens, Ascendant is intended as a tribute to Her Majesty for her platinum anniversary year.

It will consist of a thin metal tip protruding from the ground that is supposed to look like a thin slice of the tray has been removed.

Viscount said the development would have a “minimal impact on the natural environment” while celebrating the Queen’s reign.

Viscount Devonport said: “It is our ambition to create a sculpture that is not only a celebration of Queen Elizabeth II and the Commonwealth, but which is also a magnificent work of art that serves as a beacon for visitors and tourists to the region.”

‘Struggle, triumphant and huge’

Keep the Wannies Wild, an opposition group of about 2,000 locals, has objected to the plans for the sculpture on the grounds that its size and design will clash with the isolated, rural setting.

Mary Ann Rogers, a local gallery owner and co-founder of the group, told The Guardian she was “absolutely crushed” over the decision to grant a building permit.

She said, “To me it’s violent, it’s triumphant and it’s big. It’s more like a scimitar or a knife or a sword.”

She labeled it as “ecological vandalism” and said there was a “monumental irony” in the fact that the decision was announced during the Cop26 climate summit.

Viscount Devonport, a retired architect and philanthropist, lives in Northumberland, where he has recreated the family’s Ray Demesne estate by restoring buildings, replacing livestock and replanting thousands of native trees.

He sat in the House of Lords for a quarter of a century and has been open about his “great admiration” for the Queen and previously remarked, “If she does not deserve a monument, who does?”


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