Cash-strapped Birmingham City Council has contributed the sum of £10,000 towards a huge, rhinestone-encrusted sculpture of a rhinoceros which is planned to mark entry to the city’s gay village.

Partly funded by Birmingham’s LGBT group and remaining cash from grants awarded for the council’s initiative to improve the city centre, the horned beast will stand at the junction of Bromsgrove and Hurst Streets as a mascot for the city’s gay village. The sculpture’s bling armoury is intended to reflect Birmingham’s history as a jewellery-producing city.

The full cost of the model, however, is £15,000 with Birmingham City Council providing the bulk. Those behind the beast said that a rhino had been chosen as they are “associated with strength and were originally a symbol of the gay rights movement in the United States.”

David Viney of Birmingham LGBT told the Birmingham Mail: “This is a hugely exciting project that represents the culmination of four years’ work between Birmingham LGBT and the city council to create a truly iconic piece of art.”

Not everyone was quite so enthusiastic about the project, however, and a spokesman for the Taxpayers’ Alliance said: “Taxpayers will wonder why Birmingham City Council are blowing money on public art at a time when it’s pleading poverty in other areas. Art projects like this are capable of raising money for themselves.”