THE artist behind controversial proposals to build a towering 40 metre high ‘man of steel’ sculpture where the Tinsley Towers once stood has closed his own gallery.
Steve Mehdi has shut the Ecclesall Gallery - which sold his £10,000 sculptures - less than a year after opening.
The sudden closure of the Ecclesall Road unit throws doubt on plans for the controversial statue in the Lower Don Valley - a project which would need to secure £4 million of private funding before going ahead.
Mr Mehdi, a 55-year-old former police officer, of Grindleford, had been in preliminary talks with Rotherham Council about the proposals.
But it is understood officials have not spoken to him in the last two months.Today his website remained online but calls to Mr Mehdi via the gallery and his mobile phone went unanswered.
David Barker, spokesman for Rotherham Council, confirmed there had been no progress since the plan was unveiled in September.
Karl Battersby, strategic director for environment and development at Rotherham Council, said while it supported the idea in principle, it would need planning permission and funding.