THE commission bringing ideas together on a replacement for the Chartist mural is looking to appoint a project manager, the Argus has been told.

National Assembly presiding officer and outgoing Newport West AM Dame Rosemary Butler said the Chartist Commission needs a professional to seek expressions of interest from artists.

Dame Rosemary, who is one of three commissioners on the body, said she is very open minded about what the new memorial could be, saying the commission is not fixed on any one thing that the memorial could be.

She said commissioners have spent the last couple of months “doing lots of background work, talking to the Arts Council, reviewing all the stuff that has come in.”

“It looks as if we are going to appoint a project manager who will bring all the ideas together and work on a document that we can then put out for expressions of interest,” she said.

“I have no idea what this is going to be, whether it’s going to be a fountain, it’s going to be aeroplanes flying off the Transporter Bridge, whether it’s going to be a statue, I’ve no idea.

“I’m very open minded – all we know is that this isn’t about now, it’s not about the past, it’s about the future, making sure future generations know that Newport is really the Chartist city, it is the home of democracy.

“We do need a professional whose done it before to bring a document together so we can then go out to people and say these are the boundaries, give us some ideas.”

She said the commission, which also boasts former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and chairman of the Chartist anniversary committee Pat Drewett, was no where near being offered funding beyond the £50,000 put up by Newport Council, but has spoken to the Arts Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

“We don’t know how much it is going to cost because we don’t know what we’re going to have,” she added.

On November 4 1839 thousands of Chartists led by former Newport mayor, John Frost, marched to the Westgate Hotel where fellow chartists were being kept imprisoned.

Soldiers opened fire on the protestors, killing 22 chartists.

The commission was set up by Newport council following the demolition of the Chartist Mural last year.