STEEL poles supporting Weymouth’s controversial new sculpture make up almost half of its £332,291-price tag.

The Arts Council has provided the Dorset Echo with details of the Jurassic Stones budget, following a national outcry at the cost.

The Jurassic Stones have been funded as part of a cultural programme associated with the Olympics in Weymouth.

The total cost is lower than the £335,405 initially predicted.

The bulk of the budget for the sculpture, situated at the end of the relief road, near the Jurassic roundabout in Littlemoor, was spent on the £166,000 fabrication and installation of the stainless steel support poles.

Other big bills included £70,500 for the design and building of foundations, while the sculptor Richard Harris, who has been working on the creation since 2009, was paid £27,206, plus £3,000 travel costs.

Plus £19,150 engineering design fees cost, a £12,333 project management bill, £14,000 geotechnical survey and £12,235 for testing of stones and stone processing costs.

Echo website commentators have dubbed the creation ‘stones on sticks’, ‘mushrooms’ and a ‘waste of money’ but other borough residents have defended the artwork.

Littlemoor’s Sue Atyeo has paid homage to it with a mini version in her front garden in Reedling Close with her friend Nathan Snell.

Retired training consultant Sue, 58, said: “We just used some aluminium piping and stones from the local area drilled on top. It cost us about £40.

“People have stopped and admired them. They’ve chuckled really, there’s joviality about it.

“I think the cost of the big sculpture is justified because those poles don’t come cheap.

“People will say it could have been spent on something else but every town has got something.

“The sculptor actually used Jurassic rocks in honour of our Jurassic coast so that makes all the difference.”

Sunseeker worker Mr Snell, 29, said: “As supporters of the new and innovative ‘Stones on sticks’ sculpture by Richard Harris, my good friend Sue Atyeo and I have created our own version.

“We want to show our support to the council and others for this great yet controversial tourist attraction.”

Brian Hayter, owner of Littlemoor Hardware, said: “We love the Jurassic Stones.

“They’re fantastic although they should be illuminated.

“We’re fed up with people moaning about them, so we’re converting people.

“It’s funded by the Arts Council, not the borough council, the money would have been spent on something so why not here?

“Look at how much a Picasso or van Gogh costs. What about the Angel of the North?

“It’s going to last a lot longer than the Olympics.”

He added: “The design means the natural wildlife of the pond hasn’t been too affected.

“The best thing is they’re unlikely to be vandalised unless someone puts their waders on.”

costs breakdown

Costs associated with the Jurassic Stones sculpture (Figures supplied by the Arts Council):

Project management for both Richard Harris and artist Clare Barber, including artist selection costs and travel: £12,333

Engineering design fees: £19,150

Geotechnical survey and testing of stones: £14,000

Core drilling of stone for geotesting: £1,979

Stone scanning: £2,936

Engineering check of stones: £500

Stone processing for geotesting tests and engineering tests, moving them, erecting scaffold, tools, rubber pads etc: £12,235

Fabrication and installation of stainless steel part of sculpture: £166,000

Foundations: design and build: £70,500

Planning application fees: £1,190

Contingency left: £1,262

Artist travel: £3,000

Artist fee: £27,206

TOTAL: £332,291