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War Horse returns as council seeks safe ‘grazing’ for giant sculpture

PUBLISHED: 07:32 21 November 2017 | UPDATED: 15:18 21 November 2017

A giant horse that was ordered off a number of Norfolk roundabouts last week was again spotted along the NDR. Picture: ANDREW STONE

A giant horse that was ordered off a number of Norfolk roundabouts last week was again spotted along the NDR. Picture: ANDREW STONE

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A giant horse ordered off a number of Norfolk roundabouts last week has trotted back into the spotlight.

A giant horse that was ordered off a number of Norfolk roundabouts last week was again spotted along the NDR. Picture: ANDREW STONEA giant horse that was ordered off a number of Norfolk roundabouts last week was again spotted along the NDR. Picture: ANDREW STONE

War Horse, a 10ft high horse made of steel, wood and reeds, was spotted at the Fir Covert/NDR roundabout yesterday and at least two other roundabouts over the weekend.

The sculpture, which weighs a ton and is on a trailer, belongs to Taverham artist Damian O’Connor.

Norfolk County Council recently ordered Mr O’Connor to stop placing the horse on roundabouts for safety reasons and warned he could face possible enforcement action if he did not comply.

The council said the horse was an obstruction of the highway.

A giant horse that was ordered off a number of Norfolk roundabouts last week was again spotted along the NDR. Picture: ANDREW STONEA giant horse that was ordered off a number of Norfolk roundabouts last week was again spotted along the NDR. Picture: ANDREW STONE

“We have made you aware of this problem so that you can remove the item as soon as possible,” the council wrote to him.

However, following the latest sightings, the council took a more conciliatory tone.

A spokesperson said: “We acknowledge that many people have become very fond of War Horse since it first appeared in the Taverham area and along the NDR since the summer.

“We want to find a way of resolving this with the owner so that it has a safe and legal place to ‘graze’.”

A giant horse that was ordered off a number of Norfolk roundabouts last week was again spotted along the NDR. Picture: ANDREW STONEA giant horse that was ordered off a number of Norfolk roundabouts last week was again spotted along the NDR. Picture: ANDREW STONE

Mr O’Connor said he had created War Horse to commemorate the millions of horses lost in wars and several other millions which played an integral part in the regions’ rich rural heritage.

“In agriculture, transport, equine companionship and horse racing, East Anglia and the horse have worked tirelessly in harmony, for centuries.”

He said Norfolk County Council’s objection to public celebration of the bond through art “with irresponsible, irrelevant reference to health and safety, demonstrates how out of touch they are”.

“Norfolk County Council proactively markets their advertising space on all our roundabouts.

“Isn’t that a direct cash-hungry, proactive effort, intentioned by NCC, to purposefully distract motorists?”

He said NCC “greed” was taking precedence over driver safety.

“It seems that’s OK, as nobody has yet has questioned this embarrassingly critical consideration and until they do, it’s a nice little earner.”

Residents back War Horse

A number of residents of Taverham and Thorpe Marriott have come out in support of Damian O’Connor’s War Horse.

Marilyn Northwood said the sculpture had become “a symbol of unity” for local residents who looked out for it.

“Local children love it and as well as bringing a smile to our faces it has a deeper meaning, especially for me as my grandad drove a horse drawn gun carriage in WW1.”

Brian Rix said “the beautifully created model” had generated much pleasure and conversation over the past few months.

He said: “As a former police officer, an advanced motorist and a driver of 51 years, I refute the claims of distraction in this namby pamby world and would suggest more attention be directed to mobile phone usage.

“The Angel of the North is a thing of beauty, and our lovely War Horse has a back story that should never be forgotten and which is worthy of reverence.”

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