A PROPOSED iconic £1million piece of artwork in Taunton would NOT be funded from the public purse.

ArtsTaunton wants to site the unique work on Creechbarrow Hill, inside the UK Hydrographic Office campus, so it would be visible from the M5 and from trains arriving at the town's station.

Talks have already been held with UKHO bosses and permission is being sought from the Ministry of Defence and the Treasury.

If it gets the go-ahead, ArtsTaunton will run an international competition to attract quality design suggestions.

The cost of the artwork is likely to top £1 million and ArtsTaunton founder and executive director Kit Chapman is stressing that it will not be funding by the taxpayer.

He said: "For clarity, Arts Taunton is a charitable institution charged with bringing art for the public benefit to Taunton.

"Taunton Deane Borough Council is not involved in our on-going negotiations with UKHO and no taxpayers' money will go towards this project, should it come to fruition.

"The funding for this project, which is intended to help with the aspirational and cultural regeneration of Taunton, will be raised through a variety of philanthropic sources from funds that have already been ring-fenced for this type of initiative.

"In essence we will look to draw some of that money into Taunton.

"We are exploring an idea with UKHO to commission an artwork that will celebrate the amazing work UKHO has been doing for over 200 years and put Taunton on the map by giving us a unique landmark - Creechbarrow Hill is the perfect place.

"The commissioned work will attract media and public attention and grow the profile of UKHO and Taunton."

Artists from all over the world will be asked to submit ideas for the project, with ArtsTaunton shortlisting five, who will each receive £5,000 to come up with their plans.

The winning entry will then be asked to come up with a "major icon" that will immediately identify Taunton and associate the town with the arts.