Derby

Mr Potato Head banned from Belper bus station

Mr Potato Head
Image caption Mr Potato Head will stay on the grass at Belper Community Cottage

A 7ft (2m) glass fibre statue of Mr Potato Head will not be displayed at a Derbyshire town's bus station due to health and safety reasons.

The figure was given to Belper, in Derbyshire, in 2001, by its twin town of Pawtucket in Rhode Island, USA.

The town is divided over the statue, with some describing it as "hideous".

John Nelson, leader of Belper Town Council, said the station was just one possible location but could not happen due to the threat of high winds.

The statue, based on the children's toy that originated in Pawtucket in the 1950s, had bits deliberately broken off when it was first displayed in the town.

It has since been refurbished by a local youth group and now stands on a pallet on the lawn of Belper Community Cottage, facing the bus station.

Mr Nelson said it would stay there permanently unless needed for special events.

"He wasn't meant to be on the bus station," he said.

"It was an idea we had to put him up there so he wouldn't get vandalised.

"[But] if he was up there and the wind got hold of him... so risk assessment said no, it's not the place to be."

Some residents have argued the statue was not in keeping with the town's status as part of a Unesco World Heritage site.

An area stretching from Cromford, along the River Derwent to Darley Abbey, was granted World Heritage status by Unesco in 2001 because of its important industrial heritage.

Mr Nelson has admitted in the past that Mr Potato Head divided opinion but said since it returned he has noticed many people have had photographs taken with it.

Image copyright Rex Features
Image caption Mr Potato Head was invented in the 1950s and was the first toy to be advertised on TV

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