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Plan for giant heron to grace Herne Bay harbour arm

By Dan Wright

A 30ft mobile sculpture powered by the tide could be built on Herne Bay seafront – but organisers will need to find £100,000 to pay for it.

Art enthusiasts hope the aluminium piece, which depicts a nine-metre high heron, can be erected at the end of the Neptune’s Arm.

They have built a scale model to show their plans for the kinetic structure, which would move with the tide.

Plans for a new heron sculpture on Neptune's Arm have been revealed
Plans for a new heron sculpture on Neptune's Arm have been revealed

Accountant Jason Hollingsworth, who is behind the project with artist Philip Long, said: “For many years the heron has been an emblem of the town and it is very important.

“It has inspired us with a vision to create a giant moving sculpture as an emblem for Herne Bay, offering a sculpture of both beauty and function.

“It would raise its head and wings with the rising tide and will act as a beacon to signal safe times to enter and exit the harbour.”

Plans for a new heron sculpture on Neptune's Arm
Plans for a new heron sculpture on Neptune's Arm

The piece, which is being designed by the Kinetic Coast team, would form part of a series of moving sculptures along the seafront.

Organisers have yet to apply for planning permission, but are trying to find cash to fund the project.

They hope to attract the attention of philanthropists and think the scale model, which was revealed on the pier last week, will capture people’s imagination.

The kinetic heron would be guided by the tide
The kinetic heron would be guided by the tide

Mr Hollingsworth added: “We will have it on the pier for a couple of weeks now. We need to go about raising money for a full study to look into the feasibility of the sculpture.

“We need to get people to sponsor the project and we have already met with council leader Simon Cook and he is helping us.

“The heron will work as a guide as people will be able to look at it and know what the tide is doing.

“When the tide is out, the heron will be squatting down and, when it is in, it will look like it is flying.”

Organisers had originally planned to install a structure by Anthony Howe, who designed an eye-catching sun sculpture that surrounded the flame at last year’s Rio Olympics.

But Mr Hollingsworth said: “After the Olympics, we got an email saying the price was $760,000, instead of $200,000.

Jason Hollingsworth and Phillip Long want to put Kinetic sculptures along the seafront
Jason Hollingsworth and Phillip Long want to put Kinetic sculptures along the seafront

“We went back to him and he said he could do it for $540,000, but it was still more than double what he first said so we walked away from it.

“We then thought the best thing to do was to build our own piece powered by the tide, and we are in a good place with the heron now.”

The scale model will be on show at the pier until the end of August.

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