Damien Hirst Is Building His Own Town

July 31, 2014 | Sophie Weiner

Artist Damien Hirst‘s plan to build an extension to the UK town of Ilfracombe has passed the initial stage of approval, North Devon Journal reports. The “Southern Extension” will include “750 houses, shops, a new primary school and health care facilities.”

Controversy previously sprung up around the proposal in the North Devon Council. Councillor Peter Cresswell raised concerns over the sustainability of the large new construction.”You build new houses, you provide jobs,” he said. “Here we have a situation with an employment black spot. That’s not sustainable, it’s disgraceful.” Other members of the council argued that new residents will bring work with them.

Hirst told the Telegraph in 2012 that he wants construction to be a model of environmental sustainability. The artist already owns a restaurant and studio in the area, and in 2012 installed a “65-foot tall bronze statue of a naked woman called ‘Verity.” If the plan is approved, the Southern Extension will be built over the next ten to fifteen years, providing about 100 construction jobs. We can safely assume Hirst won’t be taking one of them. (Photo: @graham_tait)