A LOCAL artist has come up with a solution to the canal debate - build a giant white horse over Swindon instead.

But this is no joke for Gordon Dickinson, of Pavenhill, Purton, who believes that his sculpture of the Uffington White Horse could offer a cheap alternative and put Swindon on the map.

He said: "I'm not against the canal, but I want to see something in my lifetime.

"We want to do something that no one has seen before, something completely unique.

"This will have the wow factor for certain and I would be interested to see what the public think."

The prototype Gordon displayed yesterday is made up of 13 steel pieces that, when looked at from the right angle, make up the image of the famous white horse near The Ridgeway.

Gordon's plan for the town would be to build a giant version that would sit on poles so that it was higher than the David Murray John tower, which is 270ft tall, in the town centre.

He said: "Everybody loves the White Horse, but you cannot really see it from any angle even if you go right up there.

"With the sculpture you'd see a lot of poles but as you approach it would become a horse."

"As you walk around the thing it looks like the pieces are moving into place like the Channel Four adverts."

The steel pieces would be covered with luminous paint to absorb sunlight during the day then glow and fade out during the night.

"As you are driving down the motorway at night you would see this great horse leaping over the town," he said.

He has anticipated his idea will be as controversial as the canal, but argues the Angel Of The North statue in Gateshead was greeted with scepticism, but is now a major attraction.

"I tend to say what I think," he said.

"My thoughts don't make everybody happy all the time, but we've all got our opinions and stuff and I put mine out there through my art."

With the canal project predicted to cost more than £52m, Gordon believes that his less costly idea would be more original and could rival Antony Gormely's Angel Of The North, which cost about £1m.

The artist's original 5ft-high sculpture was commissioned by Rowde CE Primary School, in Devizes, but is the product of three years' work and research in the artist's spare time.

Gordon argues his idea would be in line with a growing cultural emphasis in Swindon, but also believes whatever does eventually go ahead must have public support.

He has put a video on the YouTube website entitled horse idea under the username gorgeous gordon to show people just what the structure is like.

He added: "All artists want to leave a mark - they want to be remembered for something good. That would be my dream and it's not a joke one either."

To find out more about Gordon's company visit www.noaddedsugar.org and to see more of Gordon's artwork go to www.gordondickinson.co.uk.