A 26ft high naked statue WILL be lit up at night

A 26ft high naked statue WILL be lit up at night after council overrules objections the giant illuminated nude could distract divers near its site at Grade II listed Cockfield Hall

  • The statue called Yoxman was erected in November 2021 beside Cockfield Hall
  • Local residents complained the large naked statue could district motorists  

A plan to light up a giant statue of a naked man at night has been approved – despite a best-selling author and villagers fearing it will distract passing motorists.

The 26ft high statue called the Yoxman, described as East Anglia’s answer to The Angel of the North, has already been labelled a danger to traffic by some locals due to drivers staring at it as they drive past.

The amply endowed artwork which is one the largest bronze sculptures in the UK was erected In November 2021 in the grounds of 16th century Cockfield Hall beside the A12 road in Yoxford, Suffolk.

Parish councillors initially objected to the three ground level soft LED floodlights being installed to light up the statue which forms part of the Wilderness Reserve luxury holiday retreat, created by property billionaire Jon Hunt.

A plan to light up a giant statue of a naked man, named the Yoxman, at night has been slammed by villagers – because they fear it will distract passing motorists

Planning chiefs have said the giant statue can be illuminated at night despite objections from locals  

Author and critic Olivia Laing (pictured), 46, who lives in Yoxford now fears that illuminating the statue will make it even more of a distraction for drivers

They argued that it would ‘present a potentially hazardous distraction ‘ to night-time motorists due to the statue being close to the bend on a 40mph limit road.

But the parish council had a change of heart after lighting consultants submitted a report saying that the emitted light would be within acceptable limits.

Councillors were also swayed by statue’s creator Laurence Edwards insisting that he wanted a ‘nuanced light’ that could ‘focussed and fine tuned in terms of colour, temperature, range, shape, timing and intensity.’

Mr Edwards said he wanted the lighting to give the ‘impression that the sculpture had absorbed light and heat during the day and was slowly emitting it in the early evening’ with a ‘dimly glow as if bathed in a second sunset’.

He insisted that the proposals by the Wilderness Reserve were not for ‘a strong, brash light blinding him (the statue) as if caught in the glare of car headlights, bleeding off and polluting the night around him’.

The statue which is described by the Reserve as ‘a local tourist feature’ stands in a prominent spot just 95m from the A12

Mr Edwards added: ‘I felt this glowing figure would be given a second breath at the end of those short dark winter days, before disappearing into the night.

‘The bronze does indeed get hot even in the dim winter days, the conductivity of the metal converting the heat of the sun, I felt that this subtle allusion to the absorption of energy and its slow emittance might add a little to the story of the sculpture’s sensitivity to the environment around him.’

East Suffolk Council approved the plans with the condition that the lights be turned off between 11pm and dusk.

Planning officer Iain Robertson said: ‘Based on the additional information provided it is considered that the proposals would not interfere with the darkness of the surrounding ‘natural’ parkland at night or harm the significance of the listed buildings.’

Author and critic Olivia Laing, 46, who lives in Yoxford had objected to the lights, saying that the statue was already a traffic hazard in daytime.

READ MORE: Locals object to 26ft high statute of a naked man 

She added in a letter: ‘Making it a nocturnal spectacle will only contribute to this danger. More importantly, light pollution caused by floodlighting at night is ecologically deleterious.

‘It disrupts natural patterns of wildlife, particularly to endangered nocturnal wildlife like bats, owls and moths, which depend upon darkness, as well as obscuring the natural spectacle of the night sky.’

Ms Laing, the author of To The River, The Trip to Echo Spring, The Lonely City and Crudo, added: ‘People live in and visit Suffolk to experience and enjoy nature, and I think a floodlit statue is completely inappropriate to its environmental surrounds.

‘It’s also insensitive to the historical surrounds, especially in the setting of such an important Grade 1 listed building as Cockfield Hall. I strongly object to this proposal.’

The statue which is described by the Wilderness Reserve as ‘a local tourist feature’ stands in a prominent spot just 95m from the A12.

Mr Edwards said he drew inspiration from the bogs and woodland of the east Suffolk coast when he created it.

The lights are planned to be turned on automatically at dusk by a solar-tracking time clock, supplying ‘subtle and evenly spread light across the statue’.

The reserve’s agents Brooks Leney state: ‘The amount of light reaching the road would be very low given that the lights are directed away from the road towards the statue.

‘This lighting is considered to be sensitive to its setting and well designed to be an addition to the existing statue which has been well received locally’.

A villager in Yoxford stated last year: ‘It is a marvellous sculpture and is very impressive – but it could end up causing an accident as it is distracting motorists.

The council passed the planning application to illuminate the statue during the hours of darkness 

‘The A12 is a very busy road and people can’t help looking at a depiction of a naked man in all his glory as they are driving past.’

The original planning application for the sculpture overlooking a new lake with reed beds in front of the hall described it as ‘a large scale showpiece work for east Suffolk’.

It said that it was intended to be a beacon and ‘a major landmark for the region – an attraction for tourists and locals seeking cultural and rural recreation and relaxation’.

READ MORE: Locals split over 26ft high bronze statue of NAKED man by the side of a busy A road as some say it distracts drivers – but others describe the well-endowed ‘Yoxman’ as ‘impressive’

Councillors welcomed it as being ‘highly appropriate’ and adding ‘a sense of drama’ to the parkland of Cockfield Hall.

Yoxford Parish Council chairman Russell Pearce said last year: ‘It has settled into the landscape quite well. I think it is fantastic, so I am biased.

‘Some people are negative and say they don’t like it and don’t see the point of it. But the number of people who stop in the lay-by to look at it is incredible.

‘I like the fact that you can see it as you drive past, and if you are in the High Street you can catch a glimpse of it in the gaps between houses.

‘People have likened it to being Suffolk’s answer to the Angel of the North. It is certainly encouraging more visitors to the village who have just come to see it.’

While some have described it as ‘a grotesque monstrosity’ and ‘a blot on the landscape’ on social media, others have described it as ‘brilliant’ and ‘amazing’.

One East Anglian admirer stated on Facebook: ‘Our very own Angel of the East’.

Other Facebook users have commented on the location of the statue with one saying: ‘Apparently installed in the grounds of Cockfield Hall ‘snigger’.’

Another added: ‘Who modelled for the trouser bulge? Ooohh eerrr missus’.

Mr Hunt who co-founded London estate agents Foxtons was said to be worth £1.448 billion and the 124th richest person in the UK according to this year’s Sunday Times Rich List.

His Wilderness Reserve business rents out a range of luxury country houses and cottages for staycations on his private 8,000 acre estate close to the Suffolk coast.

Visitors have included comedian Jack Whitehall and the cast of Made in Chelsea.

It was created by sculptor Laurence Edwards who drew inspiration for it from the bogs and woodland of the east Suffolk coast

A villager in Yoxford said last year it is a ‘marvellous sculpture’ but it could ‘end up causing an accident as it is distracting motorists’

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