Will there be sharks in parks? Seaskulls flying overhead? Damien Hirst has reportedly been granted permission to build an eco town in the seaside resort of Ilfracombe, according to the North Devon Journal. Before work can begin on the site, the development must pass through two more applications.
The project is called The Southern Extension – it's a 187 acre site and the plans are to build 750 homes (although only 75 of them will be "affordable"), a primary school, shops, medical buildings, sports facilities and allotments.
Although the proposal was voted for unanimously by the council, not all Ilfracombe residents are happy about it. In a meeting, one resident told the councillors that he was unhappy with only ten percent of the housing being built being affordable. Concerns were also raised about the impact that it would have on roads in the area, and some were unhappy that the job opportunities created by the project were "unsustainable".
In an interview given to the Telegraph in 2012, a spokesperson for Hirst outlined some of the artist's ambitions. Mike Rundell said at the time: "He wants these houses to be the kind of homes he would want to live in. He wants these buildings to be landmarks that will stand the test of time and create a blueprint for quality, environmentally sustainable developments across the country."
It's not the first mark that Hirst has left on Ilfracombe. Not only does he own a studio, a restaurant and property in the area already, in 2012 he erected a 65-foot tall bronze statue of a naked woman called "Verity". One onlooker described it as "a bit Hannibal Lecter". So it sounds like the neighbours will already be well-acquainted with Mr Hirst.
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