£1m Wolverhampton sculpture taken from public view
It's a £1m jewel in the Mander Centre crown, a piece of artwork admired by thousands of people every week, but a popular sculpture in Wolverhampton's shopping centre has disappeared from public view.
Rock Form, by Barbara Hepworth, has been in the centre since it opened in 1968 and is one of just six of its kind in the country.
In recent weeks the piece has been taken away from its usual home on the ground floor of the centre.
Bosses said they have been advised by insurers that the piece be removed and stored away from the centre, ahead of its multi-million pound redevelopment.
However 'no decision' has been made regarding its future.
The centre's £30m redevelopment was given the go-ahead by planning chiefs earlier this week. The redevelopment, which includes the creation of a new Debenhams store, was unanimously backed by councillors at a meeting.
Mander Centre manager Nicholas Pitt said of the sculpture: "The majority of the redevelopment will take place on the lower level, where the Barbara Hepworth sculpture was located.
"As such, the current landlords were advised by insurers that this valuable piece be removed and stored securely off-site.
"No further decisions have been made concerning the Barbara Hepworth sculpture, which in my view is a particularly beautiful piece."
The bronze 9ft sculpture contains within its square base a time capsule containing items donating by Wolverhampton children and traders.
It was last removed in 2002 - and refurbished - when the centre was given an £18m revamp.
The Mander Centre is currently up for sale with a price tag of £50m but bosses insist this will not impact on the redevelopment.
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