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Wirral Column could be launched in the spring
THE launch of a troubled Wirral art installation intended to celebrate the start of London's Olympic games could finally take place in the spring.
The Wirral Column was to be the first in a series of 12 commissioned art works, known as the "Cultural Olympiad", celebrating the games in the regions of Britain.
But its launch has been dogged with delays. In November Arts Council England announced it would not be investing any more money in the project but would "continue to support the production team to make it happen".
The project's delivery time was extended in order to give the team extra time they require and to pre-empt any further delays that adverse winter weather conditions might cause.
An Arts Council England spokesman said today: "The funding is still in place but no more funding will be released.
"Engineers are currently at work on the Column and it is hoped it will be up and running by spring."
Rising to a height of three miles from Birkenhead's Wirral Waters site in East Float Dock, the three-mile spiralling tube of steam and light was expected to be visible for up to 100km.
It was initially set to be launched on New Year's Eve 2011 as a focal point for the Northwest's Olympic involvement.
But a planning wrangle meant the launch was postponed. Kevin Adderley, Wirral Council's planning director, signed consent following a meeting of the planning authority on May 31 last year.
The structure which produces the Column was towed to its East Float site in Birkenhead in August and visible testing was due to begin at the end of the month, in time for the start of the Paralympics Games. But nothing happened.
Permission was granted for the development on the proviso that the structure is removed by no later than July 31 this year.
Permission was also dependant on there being no "detrimental effect through disturbance to birds" using the dock system."
The column is based on the principle of convection, where warm moist air is displaced by denser air. The £500,000 piece of artwork will be responsive to natural light and weather and will bend according to winds.
For further information and updates on Column’s development over the next few months, visit Column’s own website at www.column2012.com