WESTFIELD is to erect a statue of Kate Moss as the centrepiece of its new shopping centre in Croydon, the Advertiser can reveal. The Australian retail giant commissioned the statue to cheer up the town after reading an article in the Daily Mail which claimed that Croydon is the second unhappiest place to live in Britain. Directors are thought to have chosen Kate Moss because they believe her famous haircut – the Croydon facelift - sums up their plans for the town centre. The decision has upset Hammerson, partners in the £1 billion joint venture, because they favoured Ronnie Corbett. Westfield are understood to have asked sculpter Marc Quinn to build a replica of his famous 18-carat gold statue which shows Moss in a provocative yoga pose. The sculpture would be given pride of place in the entrance to the new shopping centre, though they have not ruled out commissioning a much larger statuette to be placed in the main food court. A well-placed source told the Advertiser that Westfield are also considering naming the building the Kate Moss Mega Mall, with Hammerson preferring Ronnie Corbett's Castle. A 20ft replica of the proposed statue was put on display for shoppers at the Whitgift Centre this weekend. If the pose proves too racy then Westfield will approach the artist who designed the statue of pop-legend Michael Jackson outside Fulham's Craven Cottage. If this plan gets the green light it will be the first statue to feature changeable clothes, with Westfield hopeful of recouping the costs by letting the sculpture out to fashion retailers such as Topshop and Zara. Other Croydon stars, past and present, were considered, including athlete Natasha Danvers, composer Samuel Coleridge Taylor and Crystal Palace legend Neil Shipperley. An online petition calling on Westfield to drop Moss in favour of a 30ft statue of Darth Vader – in honour of actor Dave Prowse – has already attracted 41 signatures. However, the supermodel, who grew up in Addiscombe, is arguably the most famous person to come out of the town. A spokesperson for the 39-year-old refused to comment on the speculation because Moss is fed up of being referred to by the tabloids as the Croydon Clotheshorse. Frank Lowy AC, chairman of Westfield, told the Advertiser: "We have ambitious plans to establish Croydon as south London's premier shopping district and could think of no one who better symbolises what we want the borough to become than Kate Moss." David Atkins, chief executive of Hammerson, said: "Our directors remain unconvinced that immortalising someone who grew up in Croydon, but no longer seems to want anything to do with the area, is sort of message we want to promote. "A statue Ronnie Corbett would be preferable, particularly as it would save some money." Westfield hopes the statue will be ready in time for the new shopping centre to open on April 1, 2018.
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