THE removal of a wooden sculpture from a Sheffield community has left residents stumped.
Businessman Michael Shipley demanded answers from the city council after a piece of public artwork he commissioned as a gift to the people of Burngreave was taken away.
The sculpture was carved around six weeks ago using a tree on a grass verge on Ellesmere Road North which was cut after it began damaging property.
Property developer Mr Shipley approached sculptor Simon Kent to create the image of a Stanwick horse mask from the 4ft stump which remained.
Residents even decorated the sculpture with a Santa hat and beard during Christmas.
But now it has been taken by two Amey workers without explanation.
Coun Jack Scott, Sheffield Council cabinet member for environment, said: “We became aware of the artwork during the course of routine highway safety inspections.
“We checked our records of art installations and fixtures but the carving was not registered or recorded as being authorised.
“The position of the tree stump carving was identified as a safety risk to road users. This meant it had to be removed to ensure the safety of our road users.
“The carving has been kept in storage until it is re-claimed and sited anywhere off the highway for safe enjoyment. We hope to get a conclusion that everyone is happy with.”
Mr Shipley said: “It was only ever supposed to be a point of curiosity but it created quite a stir. People were talking about it and taking pictures of it.
“I never got permission. I will take full responsibility for that, but I just wanted to give something to the area.”
Sculptor Mr Kent said: “This was done for the community. It was doing no harm and giving people access to public art.
“It’s not like it was a piece of vandalism or graffiti.”