NEWPORT residents are being called upon to share ideas for a replacement to the Chartist mural, which was demolished last October amid public furore to make way for the £100 million Friars Walk shopping development.
After a 90 minute open meeting on February 13, the city’s Civic Society hopes to submit ideas to the council about what the new memorial might look like and where it could be placed.
Co-Chairman of the Civic Society Nick Webb said: “The plan was to hand the floor over to the people of Newport and see what ideas come forward. There was obviously a lot of anger initially about the way the mural was demolished, even among people who appreciated it couldn’t stay in its location as it was.
“Now things have moved on to a positive discussion about what could be done in its place.
“We hope the outcomes of discussions like this will go on and influence the city council. The concern would be if ideas are coming out of discussions like this and then ignored completely – but I don’t think that will happen.”
Mr Webb hopes a similar level of enthusiasm can be harnessed in deciding on a replacement memorial as was seen during the ReNewport consultation about regenerating Newport economically, said to be one of the most successful public consultations Wales has ever had.
Possibilities likely to be discussed include a tapestry commemorating the Chartist march on Newport in 1839, which could be prepared by residents from towns where Chartists started the march, an illuminated artwork or a replica of the demolished mural.
As to where a new memorial will be, Mr Webb favoured it being close to the Westgate Hotel, where 22 Chartists were shot after marching on the city demanding democratic reform. Another option for a memorial site could be on one of the routes marchers took into the city.
He stressed all realistic options were on the table and he hoped people would bring forward their own ideas, adding: “We’re a very creative city – just look at some of the work coming out of the university.”
The discussion will run from 7.30pm to 9pm on Thursday, February 13, at Newport’s council chamber at the civic centre.