PLANS to install a new sculpture celebrating Poole's maritime heritage have met with a cool reception.

BCP Council says the new public artwork will be 'based on the form of a rope knot made from stainless steel and illuminated internally by LED lighting. At dusk, a subtle effect will be created by the sculpture, with light only creeping through gaps in multiple overlapping metal segments.'

But commentators said the council should prioritise hard-pressed Poole High Street before 'embarking on vanity projects'.

Many could not understand why it should be located in Hunger Hill which has undergone an £11 million improvement scheme this year.

"I think they are spending much too much money on the area by Hunger Hill," said one commentator on the Echo website. "Who is going to sit there to look at the traffic and inhale the fumes? The money would be better spent mending the potholes around here."

another said: "I'm not sure how much this sculpture is going to cost but if it's iconic like the Twin Sails Bridge, no thanks."

"The bridge and the rest of the high street and bus station need sorting before embarking on vanity projects," said another.

People called for the money to be spent on Poole Hospital and to be spent on saving the High Street.

The council has also unveiled plans for the rope knot artist, Michael Condron, to produce a second series of sculptures to be installed at Barbers Piles, near Poole Bridge. This artwork will feature six stainless steel birds in flight, representing the wildlife of Poole Harbour and local metalworking heritage through the ages.

A spokesperson from BCP Council said: “We’re pleased with the decision to approve the new sculpture for Hunger Hill. Situated on the threshold of the Port of Poole and Town Centre, the public artwork will help to create a sense of place and encourage civic pride in the local community. An attractive and instantly recognisable ‘gateway’ piece, it will also greet visitors travelling from the Holes Bay direction over Towngate Bridge and provide a memorable visual spectacle for people leaving the town.’’

The artwork is being delivered as part of the final phase of the Townside and Hunger Hill improvements scheme and will be installed in 2020. This scheme aims to improve access to the port and town centre via an improved road, footway and cycleway network. As part of this, funding has been allocated to create attractive public spaces which enhance the quality of life for local people.

In addition to these works, contemporary wayfinding pieces and stylish street furniture designed by David Pierce from Dallas-Pierce-Quintero is also being delivered. Revealing and responding to local heritage, these artworks aim to orientate people, signpost places, enhance new pedestrian routes and create a sense of surprise and engagement for residents and visitors.

Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership has secured £9,6m funding for the Townside and Hunger Hill improvement scheme, through the government’s Local Growth Fund.