Kelpies creator Andy Scott has thrown his weight behind a giant sculpture project for the Aberdeen bypass.
The Press and Journal has seen indicative drawings by the sculptor for a 50ft bull standing guard over the £750million road.
Mr Scott sketched the Aberdeen Angus bull after being contacted by former north-east council boss Mike Barron, who is keen to see a major piece of public art created alongside the route.
And last night the renowned sculptor told the P&J he would be “delighted” to work on such a project if funding became available.
In his rough sketch, the bull is 50ft tall and around 82ft long. It would be lit up at night.
Plans for a sculpture along the bypass were first put on the table last year.
In January, it was revealed a £1million sculpture, dubbed the Herring Drifter, was being considered for the northern end of the road, where it will join the A90 Aberdeen to Ellon road at Blackdog.
But in a separate motion, Councillor Iain Yuill urged Aberdeen City Council to investigate putting more pieces along the route and examine possible funding sources.
His bid did not move forward after councillors were told the authority had been unable to identify enough private money to make it feasible.
But Mr Barron, the former chief executive of Gordon District Council – who promoted the Aberdeenshire castle trail idea – believes the reputation of Mr Scott could draw sponsors and is urging the project to be reconsidered.
The 75-year-old, from Inverurie, contacted Mr Scott – who created a similar bull for Uttoxeter in Staffordshire – and asked him to come up with an indicative image for the scale of project.
He said: “The ideas are at a very early stage… but I’ve found that sometimes in local government it is best to put forward ideas and see how the powers that be react to them.
“Just think what the Kelpies have done to Falkirk and the surrounding area. It is a tourist feature attracting a large number of visitors and being seen from the highway is now one of the finest examples of a visual image.
“Anyone travelling down the new bypass would be able to see it as the great reflection of the north-east’s magnificent heritage.
“It isn’t easy in the north-east economically at the moment, but there would have to be the possibility of sponsorship from a major company – especially if designed by Andy Scott.”
Last night Mr Scott said: “If the project does move forward towards reality or a professional design appointment stage, I’d be delighted to participate.
“I can certainly testify to the many benefits large scale artwork project can bring to areas.”
Liberal Democrat group leader Mr Yuill could not be reached for comment yesterday.
But his party colleague Martin Greig said: “I think this sounds very encouraging.
“Aberdeen and the north-east is certainly famous for its breed cattle and I don’t think we would want to discount bringing anything back to the table.”
Finance convener Willie Young said the local authority were “all ears” for potential projects for the route, but said raising the funds would have to be a “collaborative effort” between the city and shire councils and Scottish Government.
He said: “It is good that someone of the stature of Andy Scott has shown interest in this.
“But we need to look at this altogether, we are the lowest funded council so we are not in a position to fund such a sculpture just ourselves.
“However, if the Scottish Government showed support – perhaps with some support from the private sector – then it is something we would be very interested to look at.”