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Critics bamboozled by huge bamboo structure in Folkestone Harbour by artist Gabriel Lester for 2014 Folkestone Triennial 'dwarfing businesses'

By Matt Leclere

Concerns over a "monstrous" sculpture in Folkestone Harbour for the 2014 Triennial have been rebuffed by festival organisers.

The unfinished artwork by Dutch artist Gabriel Lester is inspired by his time in China when he saw bamboo scaffolding on buildings.

It is being built on the historic railway viaduct which was a key place of embarkation for soldiers in the First World War, the arrival of refugees fleeing Belgium and later as a ferry port to France.

Critics claim the 'monstrous' bamboo structure dwarfs everything else and is smothering businesses

Richard Moffatt, chairman of the Remembrance Line Association, which wants to restore rail services to the harbour, raised concerns the "monstrous bamboo thing overpowers" businesses in the area, particularly Olivier's food stall, with "the staircase being built on the area used to put out tables and chairs for customers".

He said it looked like someone had tried setting fire to it and that "scorch marks are evident upon examination".

But a spokesman for the Creative Foundation, which is organising the Triennial programme and artworks, said: "The work is placed on the same site as a former wooden tower and, like other works in this year's Triennial, it explores Folkestone's history, makes use of disused land and provides residents and visitors with a new perspective on the town.

"We hope the work will be popular, encouraging people to enjoy this part of town and, in turn, benefit local businesses..." Triennial organisers

"From August 30, visitors will be invited to climb into the sculpture to look out over the harbour, the viaduct and the sea.

"We hope the work will be popular, encouraging people to enjoy this part of town and, in turn, benefit local businesses.

"The Creative Foundation has secured the correct permissions from Network Rail, which owns the land, for the work to be in place for the Triennial.

"We are not aware of any damage to the structure.

"The dark colouring on parts of the bamboo is entirely natural and caused by weathering."

Network Rail spokesman Chris Denham said: "The artists went through the proper channels and adhered to our requirements in putting it up.

"We know how important the Triennial is to the town and we were pleased to help them."

What do you think? Join the debate below or email folkestoneexpress@thekmgroup.co.uk

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