Blackpool mermaid statue could be 'bad luck' for resort, warns councillor

Image source, Laurence Payot
Image caption,
The artwork is inspired by sea goddesses not mermaids, says the artist

Placing a "mermaid" statue in Blackpool town centre could bring the resort "bad luck", a councillor has warned.

The £35,000 Call From The Sea artwork is planned for Talbot Square close to the town hall.

Conservative group leader Tony Williams said it was bad timing to spend thousands of pounds on an "unlucky omen" during a pandemic.

Labour-run Blackpool Council said the statue is part of plans to regenerate the town and is funded by grants.

Writing on social media, Mr Williams said the mythical sea creatures often appear in British folklore as omens of ill fortune "foretelling disaster and provoking it".

"I don't think Blackpool needs any more bad luck or needs to tempt fate."

He added he would rather the money be spent on "tidying up" the Grade II listed town hall "before it starts to crumble", adding it was an "eyesore".

"I find it insulting at a time when businesses in the town are in serious trouble."

'Sea goddesses'

Liverpool-based artist Laurence Payot who designed the 2m (6ft 6in) bronze statue said that, although the plans began with the idea of a mermaid, the final design did not have any direct mermaid traits.

She said it was inspired by sea goddesses "who usually symbolise fertility and motherhood, and the protection of the environment and of all living things".

"I don't see how this could bring bad luck; she represents the new generations and our future."

The statue will "represent the strong connection Blackpool has with the Irish Sea by creating a new local sea character with a mythical feel", said a council spokesperson.

The design followed a community consultation led by the artist with the costs being met by "ring-fenced funding allocated to public art".

Plans for the bronze statue, which will be painted green, go before the council's planning committee later.

If approved, it will be erected in April.

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