GLC councillor's call over Newport Chartist Mural
A LABOUR councillor has called for more foresight at Newport council in the wake of the Chartist Mural debacle.
Rhys Hutchings, known beyond the city as a member of Goldie Lookin’ Chain, said the authority may have “taken a little bit of a jolt” over the affair but it was up to the Labour-run council to put it right.
There was criticism last week after the Chartist Mural was demolished with no prior warning, two days before a demonstration against the move.
Cllr Hutchings, a backbencher who represents St Julians, said he had a 20 minute conversation with the Labour leader Bob Bright yesterday where he was told that a statement was being worked on.
“I am doing my best here coming in to try and make sure that people are doing their best to move things forward,” he said.
“I don’t think anybody in Newport has been happy with the situation. The whole situation is far from ideal.
“Newport council might have taken a little bit of a jolt. It’s up to Newport council to put it right.”
He added: “Foresight is a wonderful thing. I think we need to get a bit more foresight in things going forward.”
An email from senior Tory Cllr David Fouweather to chief executive Will Godfrey asked whether he and Newport council leader Cllr Bob Bright were informed about the risks of demolition when they were briefed about it October 2, the day before the event.
Cllr Fouweather wrote: “This was yours and the leader of the council’s decision. You both could have stopped this and insisted that things were done differently. You did not.”
Plans to demolish the mural ahead of the Friars Walk redevelopment were formed in March 2012 when the council was run by a Tory/Lib Dem administration.
On Wednesday the Argus exclusively revealed that Mr Godfrey had apologised to councillors for officers not informing them of the imminent destruction of the mural.
He told councillors that he and the leader were informed of the demolition was imminent on October 2, although no precise date or time was indicated.
Campaigners are hoping that they can recover the rubble from the demolition so artists can create a new piece to commemorate the mural.
The council has confirmed that the mural rubble is in a safe location while it decides what to do with it.
However a spokeswoman said yesterday that Cllr Bright was not available for interview.
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