THREE gleaming new public art pieces costing a quarter of a million pounds have been unveiled on a motorway flyover.

The three sculptures, with huge metal leaves emerging from spiralling pillars, were created by artist Lucien Simon using money pledged by Telford homes as condition for the nearby Queen Mary's Gate development.

The seven metre tall stainless steel pieces are illuminated at night and are decorated by tiny leaf patterns that were traced by local schoolchildren before being transferred to the sculptures and cut out in the metal.

The final designs of the pieces were voted for by residents after an exhibition in South Woodford Library, and the completed works were put in place yesterday (February 14) on the A406 bridge in the High Road, South Woodford, drawing crowds of onlookers.

Mr Simon, who lives in north west London, has completed numerous public art projects in the capital.

He said: “I think they look magnificent. They are more elegant than I thought they would be.

“The leaves at the top are oak and sycamore, they allude to Woodford’s past as part of Epping Forest.

“It has been created together with the community, with the help of schoolchildren and the voted for by residents.”

A bench specially created by artist Tim Ward and decorated with scenes from the area’s history sits alongside the sculptures.

With many council services facing funding cuts, the amount spent on the sculptures has been controversial, with many claiming that the £200,000 could have been better used elsewhere.

However, Mr Simon defended the project: “There should be more funding made available for public art. So much council money goes to waste and it is great that Redbridge have decided to put money behind this project.

“Councils have more than enough money to fund this kind of thing,” he said.

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