News Shopper reader Catherine Burrows gives her thoughts on plans for the Ebbsfleet Landmark, the Angel of the South.

MANY of us will glimpse it from the A2, speeding past on the Eurostar, or en route to the Olympic village in Stratford.

Some will see it from their new homes in Ebbsfleet.

The cultural and social importance of the new Ebbsfleet Landmark cannot be overstated.

Dubbed the Angel of the South, it's been mentioned in the same breath as the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty and Nelson's Column.

It will fly the flag for the Thames Gateway, Kent, London, the south and the UK.

There is no room for mistakes and bad choices such as the Diana Memorial Fountain or the wobbly Millennium Bridge.

A public consultation period has begun before the final design is unveiled in October.

The patrons of the project - Eurostar, Land Securities and London & Continental Railways - have unveiled five shortlisted projects.

But questions are already being asked about a process which has produced five designs which have little or no connection with the area.

The most controversial has been Mark Wallinger's Horsa - a giant white horse.

Anybody with small children will recognise this as an outsized version of a plastic farmyard animal.

Designed to signify an ancient relationship between man and beast, it supposedly reflects British colonial and post-colonial history.

The white horse is the long-standing symbol of Kent but this would mean nothing to your average Ebbsfleet resident.

Also, the white horse of Kent proudly rears, whereas Horsa is tamed and bridled, nothing less than silly.

Don't despair, there's always Rachel Whiteread's recycled mountain of concrete and rubbish topped off with an inside out house.

The design is intended to be interactive, providing an opportunity for people to climb to the house at the summit.

It is hard to imagine Whiteread's design littered with yellow and black hazard tape and metal handrails. This one is setting itself up for a fall - literally.

Richard Deacon has proposed a steel cairn or nest which on first and final glance looks like a demolished pylon.

The patrons claim it echoes the idea of "a framework surrounding an absent solid".

Again, this appears to be a non-starter, with no real relevance to a new community.

The architectural brilliance of Daniel Buren's design is nothing less than impressive.

Five cubes stack in perfect proportions skyward, through which a laser would pass, reaching into the sky.

At the heart of the monument is a treasure, a brightly-coloured cube with a clever stainless steel structure, impressing visitors with intriguing reflections.

Visually and technically, Buren's design undoubtedly has the wow factor, but what does it say about Ebbsfleet?

Designed and conceived superbly by a French artist, the answer is surely nothing.

The final contender is Christopher Le Brun, presenting a wing in flight set against a large concrete disc.

Its construction would be an engineering triumph with the "biggest slab lift ever seen in the world".

The pit behind the monument, created as a by-product of the casting of the wing and disc, would provide an amphitheatre for community events and a giant projection screen on the reverse of the disc.

With references to ancient Roman settlements at Ebbsfleet, as well as providing a useful community amenity and its sheer and simple grandeur, Le Brun's design appears to fulfil more criteria than any of the other designs.

The community's views of the proposals range from confusion to undisguised ridicule or indifference.

However, the best designs are yet to be unveiled.

These are the ideas which still lay hidden in the minds of schoolchildren and students, or the imaginations of Kentish men and women.

Give them a blank piece of paper, a pencil and a brief. Let them dream and then watch as the Ebbsfleet Landmark springs to life.