AN iconic piece of artwork that would mark Taunton out as a leading cultural destination has moved a step closer.

The Ministry of Defence has given provisional backing to siting it on top of Creechbarrow Hill, land it owns within the UK Hydrographic Office campus, off Admiralty Way.

The unique artwork, proposed by ArtsTaunton and likely to cost at least £1 million, would be visible from the M5 and the railway line ArtsTaunton founder and director Kit Chapman said: "Our aim is to put Taunton, the county town of Somerset, firmly on the cultural map.

"UKHO is supportive of the proposed artwork and, indeed, its precise site on the hill has already been determined.

"The MoD, which owns the land, has now given a provisional green light to move ahead, pending approval."

The group now intends to open talks with Taunton Deane Borough Council over planning issues associated with the ambitious project before going back to the MoD for final approval.

An international competition will then be held to find an outstanding artist to undertake the commission, with the five shortlisted entries put on show at a public exhibition in Taunton.

The artwork would be funded by private subscription.

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