A STATUE of a naked man which is due to be unveiled next to a Blackburn road has caused a row after being branded "vulgar and crude."

But town hall chiefs say the stonework figure, being sculpted at the junction of the Lower Eccleshill link road and the M65 has been discussed several times in the council chamber without objection.

Beardwood and Lammack Conservative Coun Sheila Williams says the statue of the man lying face down will be the first thing visitors to the area see as they come into Blackburn from the motorway.

She added: "What a monstrosity to leave as a legacy to future generations.

"The decision to have this public art was passed through a sub committee of three Labour councillors. They have three councillors on these committees because that is the most they can have without an opposition councillor having to be involved.

"The three Labour councillors who selected this degrading design should have shown a better sense of propriety, especially considering the area's bid for city status."

Preston based artist Thompson Dagnall is currently working on the sculpture, which is covered in tarpaulins to shield it from the weather.

A council spokesman said: "This has been discussed at the council and with the Lower Darwen Community Association without any problem. "The head teacher at a primary school in Lower Darwen was so impressed that he asked for a model of it."

The work is likely to be unveiled over the summer. Coun Williams' attack is the second occasion in recent weeks that the council has come under fire for its public art policy.

Residents in Guide were stung into protest about the building of a large metal beehive on the large Haslingden Road roundabout, at the entrance to the Shadsworth industrial estate near their homes.

Thompson Dagnall said: "The figure is called arte et labore after the town motto. He lying flat and carving the town crest into the stone. There is nothing vulgar about it."

"Nobody else has complained about this and it is a bit prudish of this lady to have done so."

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