Newport Chartist mural demolition 'inevitable' - now help choose replacement - leader
10:19am Monday 14th October 2013 in Gwent news
THE people of Newport are being asked from today how they would like a new Chartist memorial artwork to look, after what city council leader Bob Bright called the “inevitable” demolition 12 days ago of the mural celebrating the movement.
In his first public statement on what has proved an extremely controversial issue, Cllr Bright said it was now time to look forward – and he highlighted a wall built in the entrance of the newly refurbished indoor market as the location for a new Chartist artwork.
He also echoed council chief executive Will Godfrey’s view – given to Save Our Mural campaigners at a Stow Hill ward meeting last week – that a previous administration’s plan for a replacement for the mural was not ambitious enough.
“The recent removal of the Chartist mural provides the city with a new opportunity to celebrate an important local event which had national significance,” he said. Launching a public consultation on a new Chartist artwork, Cllr Bright said: “In 2012 plans were approved by the previous administration to redevelop the city centre and the demolition of this mural was inevitable.
“They also decided to create a tiled representation of the Chartist mural in the Central Library in John Frost Square at a cost of approximately £22,000.”
That had been the preferred option of the city’s former Conservative/Liberal Democrat administration, but Cllr Bright said: “This administration has always been committed to commemorating Newport’s proud Chartist legacy in a more suitable and ambitious way than that which was proposed previously."
To vote on the form an artwork would take, which will be located in the entrance hall of the newly refurbished provisions market go to newport.gov.uk/haveyoursay before October 31.
andVoting will close on Thursday October 31.
“The council wants to ask Newport people what form an artwork could take, which will be prominently located on a wall in the entrance hall of the newly refurbished provisions market.
“Newport Market is an historic listed building, close to the site of the events of that fateful night, November 4 1839, and it will be a much more accessible and appropriate setting for a new commemoration.
“We must acknowledge our past, recognising the importance of the Chartists and their fight for democracy in the 19th Century.
“But we also need to look forward and provide what residents and city businesses need and want in the 21st Century, with work about to get underway on the new Friars Walk leisure and retail scheme.
“Friars Walk will bring economic prosperity back to the city centre, it will create more than 1,100 jobs and see a multi-million pound investment in Newport.”
People will be able to vote for their preferred option at www.newport.gov.uk/haveyoursay andvoting will close on Thursday October 31. The result will be made public afterwards.
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