Controversial sculptures dedicated to a 17th-century thinker will be removed from a central Norwich square.

Councillors at City Hall have voted to remove a set of statues, including one of a distinctive brain, from Hay Hill.

The sculptures, sitting between Next and Primark, will be mothballed with no immediate plan in place for where they will go after a relocation project at Elm Hill Gardens was scrapped. 

The carvings, which include inscriptions on blocks of marble, are called 'Homage To Sir Thomas Browne; and were designed to complement the nearby statue of the 17th-century physician, philosopher and writer. 

READ MORE: First look at Hay Hill transformation plans

Made by French sculptors Anne and Patrick Poirier, they have been controversial since they were first proposed in 2007.

Norwich Evening News: Artist Patrick Poirier with the brain sculpture in Hay Hill, Norwich. Photo:  Adrian Judd

Keith Driver, chairman of Norwich City Council's planning committee said: “I was about when these first came up and I just don’t like them, I’m afraid. 

“I’m one of those people who just didn’t get it and I still don’t get it and they have been there for 15 years.

"I don’t know anyone who could tell me what they are, what they’re supposed to be doing there.

"It would be a shame if they disappeared off the face of the earth. Let's put them somewhere they will be appreciated."

Norwich Evening News: Keith DriverKeith Driver (Image: Archant)

READ MORE: Makeover planned for Norwich's 'unloved' central square

Marion Caitlin, from the Thomas Browne Society and a former City Hall cultural officer, told Thursday's committee the sculptures had been put in place when the council's finances were "volatile" and interpretation signage had never been put in place. 

She added: “Nevertheless, they took their place without much noise in the city and they have been used as they were intended ever since.  

“They are not primarily a visual artwork, they were there as a ‘living room for the city,’ as somewhere to sit.” 

Councillors approved the removal while work continues for their new home.