Pressure is mounting on Dundee City Council to fully explain why it turned down a Waterfront sculpture pitch from the artist behind The Kelpies.
On Monday, the Tele revealed sculptor Andy Scott had offered the council a unique work that would sit at Waterfront Place alongside V&A Dundee.
Mr Scott – who has notched up several awards for The Kelpies in Falkirk and has created other works across Scotland – says his pitch of a Bowhead whale and her calf was “ignored”.
Dundee City Council says consultancy firm Morgan Sindall responded to him, a claim he continues to deny.
The local authority says it is set to run a competition for an “inclusive play sculpture” at the site, therefore could not accept any “speculative proposals”.
However, neither it nor Morgan Sindall have provided any proof they responded to Mr Scott’s pitch at all.
Councillor Kevin Keenan, Labour group leader, is among those calling for the council to come clean on whether it has, as he put it, “dropped the ball”.
“Without a doubt, I think having consultants take things up on your behalf isn’t always the best course of action,” he said.
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“I would be interested to know if we could have given more consideration to this proposal.
“When the V&A went up there was talk of what Dundee would do next – this could have been the thing to bring more visitors.
“The council may have dropped the ball on this one. If there is still an opportunity for this to go ahead I would like to see the council pursue it.”
Mr Keenan drew comparisons between Mr Scott’s plan and The Kelpies, which together with the Falkirk Wheel have reinvigorated tourism in the central belt.
The iconic statues – now a staple of tourist material touting Scotland to the world – were created as part of the multi-million pound Helix park.
Town planners set out to create the region’s answer to the Angel of the North – and since opening in 2013 the statues have welcomed 750,000 visitors per year.
The Moffat Centre, which collates visitor figures for Scottish tourist attractions, says the horses have become a “major destination”, with visitor figures remaining “buoyant”.
Mr Keenan added: “Councillors in Falkirk have been speaking the town up in the same way I speak up Dundee. The Kelpies have made a huge difference to tourism down there.
“We’re obviously looking towards how to expand our cultural offering in Dundee – and art forms part of that.
“Hopefully we can still explore finding somewhere else for this sculpture.”
Mr Scott had hoped to create the life-sized whale and calf for Waterfront Place – the “urban beach” currently under construction to the east of V&A Dundee.
But a council spokesman said this would not be possible because a plan is being drawn up for a design competition to create an “inclusive play sculpture”.
The spokesman said: “Until that competition is launched, the council is not in a position to accept speculative proposals.
“As with all competitions of this nature, the budget for this project will be an integral part of the criteria.
“We will be looking for suggestions from designers to give the city an ambitious and unique play sculpture at a superb location.
“The city council would encourage any sculptors or artists who think they can make a contribution to the city to enter the competition when it is launched.”
The Tele requested an interview with city development chief Robin Presswood but was told he was unavailable.