A LANDMARK sculpture has been given a makeover in homage to the skateboarders who surround it.

The bronzed £50,000 sculpture, called the Return, has been fitted with a skateboard in keeping with the skaters who ride around it outside Southend Victoria railway station.

And whoever’s added the skateboard to Belgian sculptor Rene Julien’s creation has made a great impression as Southend Council plans to keep it for now.

A spokesman for the council said: “We know what an innovative and entrepreneurial place Southend is and this goes to prove it!

“Clearly some effort has gone into giving the bronze statue a modern take and shows what a vibrant cultural scene we have here in Southend and what talented artists we have.”

The spokesman added: “This has generated positive comments on social media and is clearly getting people to talk about art, which we think is great.

“While we will need to return the statue to its original state at some point, we intend to leave this new interpretation as it is, for now, and would be delighted to speak to the artists to see if we could work with them.”

The sculpture symbolises people returning home and, along with several benches, is all that brightens the otherwise barren expanse.

Colette Bailey, from Southend art group Metal, said the alterations to the artist’s original concept were acceptable as long as no harmwas done.

She said: “I certainly wouldn’t class it as vandalism.

I think public art will be appreciated, as long as it doesn’t damage the piece.

“That piece of land is occupied by skaters who look like they have taken delight in their public space.”