Protestors hit back in Newport Chartist mural row
10:29am Thursday 17th October 2013 in Gwent news
CAMPAIGNERS against the Chartist mural demolition have hit back at claims made by a senior Newport council officer and are urging the public to come up with designs for the replacement.
In an interview with the Argus this week, Newport council strategic director Sheila Davies said she and chief executive Will Gofrey met with campaigners and asked them to come up with a costing plan to save the mural but had no response.
A spokesman for Save Our Chartist Mural said they were waiting for the engineer’s report from the council confirming whether it was feasible for the mural to be saved before they could accurately draw up any costings.
They say this was “never forthcoming” and they now want the mural remains returned so they can be incorporated into its replacement.
In an e-mail from Ms Davies to one of the campaigners sent on August 15 - a month after their meeting - and seen by the Argus, she said: “Until I have definitive advice and costs for the potential dismantling I am not yet in a position to instigate any discussions about working with any groups about this. I think at this point it is one step at a time until we know exactly what is what.”
Campaigners said they wanted a free-standing wall with the original mural on one side and a digital information display on the other.
They also said the council’s Q&A on the replacement is not a genuine consultation and are inviting people to submit drawings, sketches and designs to their Facebook page. They also want a full meeting involving all councillors and council bosses.
A council spokesman said it consistently communicated to interested parties that removal costs would be £625,000, a figure was given to the council by independent consultants recommended by Cadw, adding: “At no time has the council received any further suggestions from other organisations.”
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