Lottery backers’ show of support for the Man of Steel

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A project to create a huge steel sculpture overlooking the M1 has won the backing of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

More than £100,000 has been awarded to sculptor Steve Mehdi’s charity, Yorkshire Icon Ltd, which is working on the scheme to put up a 32-metre stainless steel figure - the Man of Steel.

The attraction will also feature an information hub and observation tower, and is set to be built on an old landfill site near junction 34 of the M1 close to Meadowhall.

The lottery funding of £106,000 will allow Yorkshire Icon to draw up more detailed designs for the tower and hub, and put together a future bid for a larger grant in up to two years’ time.

Steve, who lives in Grindleford and used to run the Ecclesall Gallery on Ecclesall Road, said: “The support from the Heritage Lottery Fund is an important moment for us and underlines the project’s importance to the Yorkshire region. It is a validation for all the companies and people who have supported the project over the years.

“The grant will enable us to further our ambitions to create a building which is truly inclusive and inspirational, and which embraces the whole community.”

The sculpture - which will sit just over the Sheffield boundary in Kimberworth - is supported by Rotherham Council and several private companies. Sheffield Council is not involved at present - the authority is pursuing its own plan for a piece of public art on the former Tinsley Towers site.

Steve said the project remained a ‘big challenge’ but that, apart from the remaining funding negotiations, Yorkshire Icon was ‘well on’ with the ‘complex design process’.

Preparations on site are expected to start next summer.

The figure will incorporate another, two-and-a-half-tonne sculpture - the Heart of Steel. Members of the public have been given the chance to pay £20 and have names engraved on the super alloy steel heart.

In 2013, a study by Sheffield Hallam University estimated that the project would generate £9m a year in visitor spend.