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Prince Philip’s ‘Don’ statue will be removed for a second time after being branded the ‘worst piece of art ever seen’

A Prince Philip statue considered possibly the worst piece of art a council has ever seen is to be removed for a second time.

Ten years after the “Don” statue was first erected Cambridge It is now set to be removed without planning permission after an enforcement notice was issued earlier this month.

Unex Group, a real estate developer and property owner of Charter House where the statue is located, installed the 4m-tall abstract statue in front of a city center office building after it was previously removed.

In 2014 it was initially built on the same street in front of another office complex, but was subsequently refused permission and was demolished.

The statue was originally erected to mark the late Duke of Edinburgh’s 35th anniversary as Chancellor of Cambridge University.

It is said to have cost £150,000 Prince Philip wears an academic cap and gown.

However, it was not welcomed at the time, with the council’s then public art co-ordinator saying it was possibly the worst piece of art they had ever seen.

They said it was “possibly the lowest quality work ever submitted to the Council” and added: “As a stand-alone work it is not of the best quality; its deficiencies would be compounded by its placement next to and within the proposed building, a small space that was not designed to accommodate the work.”

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In 2023, the abstract statue was re-erected but again rejected by the local council, who gave the owners until April 11 to appeal the decision and until August 11 to remove it.

But speaking to the Times, the Unex Group chairman made it clear that he intended to postpone the artwork.

The decision was welcomed locally. Katie Thornburrow, councilor for planning, said: “It has been described as ‘kitsch-like’ and ‘rubble masquerading as public art’ and no-one apart from the wealthy property developer who commissioned it seems to have a good word to say about it .

“I would be happy to see it gone but remain angry that the developers could just throw it away and then force the council to spend officers’ time and money trying to get them to take it away. We deserve better. I hope it works out that way. “It’s clear that local authorities will work to enforce planning regulations.”

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Although it was reported that Piero Atchugarry was the artist behind the statue, he later denied this.

Unex Group and Piero Atchugarry have been contacted for comment.

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