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Sculpture commission for Stortford park

Artists are invited to submit designs for a public art sculpture incorporating vine leaves to be installed in the centre of a newly created park at Countryside's St Michael's Hurst development.

­­­­­­­Countryside will contribute £7,500 to the design, manufacturing and installation of the sculpture which will be located at the central seating area of the development at Hazel Rise Park.

Deadline to apply

Artists who wish to apply must submit preliminary drawings by September 30 to A shortlist of candidates will then be drawn up.

East Herts Council leader Linda Haysey said: "This is an opportunity to win a commission to create a small piece of artwork and enhance the enjoyment of park users."

Vine leaves

Charles Humphreys, co-founder of Hazel End Farm, said: "The news of a vine sculpture is serendipitous. Especially since this marks the hottest year since 1976, which was the year that persuaded us to plant our first vines here at Hazel End."

Countryside managing director David Everett said: "Many prospective buyers and residents at St Michael's Hurst love the idea they can enjoy a glass of wine from locally grown grapes. When deciding on artwork for the development, a vine leaf was chosen for its local links. This is a great chance for Countryside to provide an opportunity to local artists in the area to showcase their work while offering something for all of the community to enjoy for many years to come."

Stortford wine

The first vines were planted in the hot summer of 1976 by farm owners Charles and Petronella Humphreys and vines are still grown on the site. It took nearly twenty years before the first commercial crop was harvested in 1996 but since then the wines from the nearby Hazel End vineyard have enjoyed a growing reputation and a gold medal at the national Wine of the Year competition in June 2011.

Hazel End vineyard is not actually a winery - despite having four acres of vines. The grapes are taken immediately to a professional winery (previously used winemakers have been the famous Kent based Chapel Down) which makes the wine, bottles it and then ships it back to Hazel End for sale.