Dundee Waterfront proposal by Kelpies designer ‘ignored’ by council

© GettyThe Kelpies sculptures.
The Kelpies sculptures.

Dundee turned down the opportunity to commission a statue by the sculptor behind the world-famous Kelpies, the Tele can reveal.

Scottish steel sculptor Andy Scott has confirmed he made a pitch to Dundee City Council to create a life-sized sculpture of a Bowhead whale and its calf.

Under his proposal, the statue would have taken pride of place at the Waterfront next to V&A Dundee, celebrating the city’s renowned historical links with the whaling trade.

However, Andy’s attempts to speak with council bosses came to naught – he claims his pitch was altogether “ignored”.

The council says consultants working on its behalf responded to him instead.

A source with knowledge of the pitch said the sculpture was destined for Waterfront Place.

But instead of the statue, the beach area beside V&A Dundee will now house a “digital playground” for children to learn about marine life – which will be in the shape of a whale.

© Supplied
Initial concept proposal of the interactive whale play park at Slessor Gardens.

They said: “Andy Scott is renowned for The Kelpies – they are truly magnificent structures.

“The digital playground will no doubt cease working in years to come and fall into disrepair.

“Why has it been rejected? What about what the people of Dundee would like?

Read more about the Dundee Waterfront here

“I recently saw The Kelpies and was in awe of them. The whales would be a fantastic attraction for adult and children tourists to Dundee.

“This is a disappointing loss of an opportunity.”

In an email to the Tele, Andy – based in the US city of Philadelphia – confirmed his pitch to Dundee was legitimate.

He said: “I did propose a whale sculpture for Dundee Waterfront. It was for a life-size steel Bowhead whale and her calf. In the proposal report I referenced Dundee’s former whaling industry and the more enlightened times we now live in with the intention of celebrating these amazing creatures.

© Getty
Andy Scott.

“My proposal received no response from Dundee City Council. I therefore can’t really say it was rejected, just ignored.”

Andy believes the sculpture could well emerge somewhere else – despite being pitched with the City of Discovery in mind.

He added: “I remain hopeful that my proposal for the magnificent Bowhead whale and her calf comes to reality somewhere sometime. It would be fantastic if it was on Tayside.”

Among Andy’s best-known metalworks is The Kelpies: the iconic steel horse heads which stand 30m tall at the Forth and Clyde Canal in Falkirk.

They draw around 850,000 visitors each year and regularly feature in tourist material when Scotland is touted to the world.

Andy is also renowned for other works such as Arria, a steel mermaid statue beside the M80 at Cumbernauld, and the bronze sculpture of former Rangers captain John Greig that forms the memorial for victims of the 1971 Ibrox disaster.

Earlier this year, a similar but unrelated proposal was unveiled for a Kelpies-size sculpture of humpback whales breaching the water at the beachfront in Leven.

The plan was the idea of Fife councillor Graham Ritchie, who has previously expressed his hopes to get Andy on board.

Andy says he is aware of the project – but has not been approached to be involved.

A council spokeswoman said: “We appreciate Andy Scott’s interest in the Waterfront and on this occasion consultants working on our behalf responded directly to Mr Scott to say that we will not be taking his proposals forward.”