YORKSHIRE’S fastest growing firm has unveiled plans to create a “Sausage of the North” landmark sculpture as tall as Big Ben at its factory beside the A1(M).

Food firm Heck is set to submit plans to Hambleton District Council in the summer for a sausage-shaped structure rising 60m above the former pig farm at Kirklington, near Bedale, and which would weigh 150 tonnes.

And despite it being April 1, the traditional time of the year for journalistic japery, Heck have provided assurances that the plan is genuine and not an April Fool.

In fact, at noon today they tweeted: "Bet you thought that was an April fool? NOPE! We are currently working on plans for the Sausage of the North! Any engineers out there who want to get involved? Get in touch!"

Heck co-founder Jamie Keeble said earlier: “I don’t know if people will call it beautiful, but it will definitely be a work of art. It will put smiles on people’s faces. People will look forward to seeing it, as they do the Angel of the North, as they pass this point in Yorkshire. We want Yorkshire to be known for Heck sausages, like Wensleydale has done for cheese.

“We are applying for Arts Council funding for Sausage of the North as we think it will really add to the cultural heritage of the area.”

The Northern Echo:

The Angel of the North - could it be rivalled by a giant sausage? Picture: Press Association

The firm, which produces about 700 sausages a minute at the plant, says the colossal artwork would take inspiration from Sir Anish Kapoor’s Orbit sculpture at the London Olympic park. Heck said Sausage of the North would be “much more than just a static statue”, with a platform with a 360-degree view of the North York Moors National Park and a helter-skelter ride that will take visitors from the top to the bottom.

The proposals come a month after the district council granted the firm planning permission for a Sausage World visitor attraction, only for the firm to be told funding from the European Union had been refused because of Brexit.

Mr Keeble said it was now looking at different ways to make Sausage World happen, and the sculpture plan was “all about opening our doors to people”.

He said as the firm increasingly produced vegan and lower fat products it planned to offer fitness classes and offer visitors the chance to make their own sausages at the factory.

North Yorkshire County Council leader Councillor Carl Les, who used to run the nearby Leeming Bar Services, said it was disappointing that Heck had lost its funding for Sausage World, but that he was uncertain whether the Sausage of the North sculpture was the correct proposal for the site.