CALLING all earthlings!
The Observer today announces a phone poll to let YOU decide whether a glowing UFO sculpture should be built on the top of Accrington's Coppice.
Judges have picked this UFO sketch as one of the winning designs in a competition to erect six new landmarks across East Lancashire. But Hyndburn Council leader Peter Britcliffe has already given the spacecraft a hostile reception and has voiced concerns that it would make the town a laughing stock.
He said this week: "I welcome the Observer's decision to carry out a phone poll. It will give the public the chance to air their views on this. I think the judges have picked this design as it is of great interest to people. However, I'm amazed that they should consider this a suitable design for the top of the Coppice. My initial reaction is to say no way.
"I think it's important to get residents' views and involve the community because I'm sure they will share my opinion. We all want something that will be an attraction for the area but I don't want something that will put us on the map for the wrong reasons. Hyndburn is just not ready for a space ship on the Coppice."
Delighted artist John Kennedy, who took a month to come up with his winning design, said: "I'd like to see it built in Hyndburn because that is where I designed it to go. I chose that particular site for my design.
"I followed the brief and designed something that could be seen from a long distance, was vandal-proof and would attract people to it. Darwen has a tower which looks like a rocket and I thought a flying saucer could be a sister to it."
Whether the design actually gets made is another matter after Councillor Britcliffe threatened to veto the competition unless a public consultation was carried out.
An idea to recreate the famous Hollywood sign above Accrington was eliminated as it was deemed too expensive after artists had been told to create something that would cost in the region of £50,000.
Margaret Wyatt, marketing consultant for the project headed by the Lancashire Environmental Arts Network and Mid-Pennine Arts, said: "The judges felt this was an outstanding design and awarded it a prize. They felt it was a worthy design that could be erected.
"However if things don't work out in Accrington it could be erected elsewhere in East Lancashire."
The space ship would NOT be erected at council tax payers' expense but it WOULD need planning permission from the council.
The phone lines are now open.
If you think the sculpture is out of this world, or you want it sending back to outer space, let us know!
DO YOU think this UFO sculpture should be built on top of the Coppice?
YES for UFO Ring: 0901 406 4000
NO for UFO Ring: 0901 406 4001
The phone lines will operate from 9am today (Friday) until 10am next Wednesday and the result will be announced in next Friday's paper. Calls will be charged at no more than 10p.