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Follett thinks Frinks worth listing

New architecture minister Barbara Follett has made her first major decision in the post by upholding the listed status of four sculptures by world famous artist Elizabeth Frink.

Businessman and developer Humprey Avon had been urging the government to de-list The Grade II* Desert Quartet in Worthing – a series of bronze busts – so he could remove the sculptures believed to be worth £2 million.

Avon claims he owns the sculptures which sit on a loggia, designed by architect Graham Excell, at the entrance to the Montague Shopping Centre (opened 1990) which was developed and built by Avon’s own company.

Last May the four male heads and the loggia were dramatically listed following a joint application by the Twentieth Century Society and Public Monuments and Sculpture Association – just as scaffolding was being erected supposedly to remove the sculptures.

Now Follett has upheld this decision, meaning Avon will have to apply for listed building consent should he want to continue with his original plan to move the Frink masterpieces - the ‘youngest’ sculptures ever to be Grade II* listed - to his back garden.

Twentieth Century Society spokesman Jon Wright said: ‘This was a fight for public art. You can’t have developers putting up art [designed specifically] for the town, given in perpetuity for the public benefit, then deciding to take it away again when it becomes [worth something].’

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