Plans to erect a controversial £300,000 bronze statue of the country’s first female Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in Grantham went on display to the public today.
Artist impressions outlining the details of the proposals were available to view on Wednesday, November 21 before a formal planning submission was handed in.
Grantham Community Heritage Association (GCHA), which runs the Grantham Museum, and South Kesteven District Council bid for the statue after it was previously rejected by authorities in Westminster.
It’s hoped supporters and critics alike will be inspired to travel to Grantham to learn about the politician and raise money for the local museum.
The sculptor, Douglas Jennings, who is critically acclaimed and renowned for producing highly detailed bronzes, portraits and sculptures, was also present to talk about his work.
The proposal is for the 10.5ft statue, standing on a 10.5ft plinth, to be erected on the green space on St Peter’s Hill. The planning application will be considered by SKDC’s Development Management Committee.
It has been paid for by The Public Memorials Trust, a charity that aims to commission and erect memorials to historically important people. Money raised by the GCHA Margaret Thatcher Appeal will help deliver the statue. No public funds have been used.
Margaret Thatcher (nee Roberts) was born and raised in Grantham and attended Kesteven and Grantham Girls’ School, before gaining a scholarship to study at Oxford University. Her father Alfred, a grocer, was Mayor from 1945 to 1946. She entered the House of Lords in 1992.
Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990. Five-and-a-half years on from her death in April 2013, her social and economic legacy continues to divide opinion, with strong feelings on both sides of the debate.
David Burling, GCHA Trustee, said: “The debate about Margaret Thatcher’s legacy looks set to continue for generations to come. We want the Grantham Museum to be where that debate happens.
“We believe full planning permission for the statue will not only secure the future of the museum for the next 10 years but allow us to develop and improve our permanent Margaret Thatcher exhibition which is viewed by thousands of visitors each year.
“We will continue to raise money for the statue project and every penny donated will help to tell the story of Margaret Thatcher in the Grantham Museum.”
The Leader of South Kesteven District Council, Councillor Matthew Lee, said: “Margaret Thatcher was undoubtedly an enormous political figure, both nationally and internationally, and deserves to be recognised in her home town.
“I welcome the work being done to create a permanent memorial to Grantham’s most famous daughter.”
The sculptor, Douglas Jennings, said: “It was a great privilege to work with Ivan Saxton of The Public Memorials Appeal to create and capture the essence of Margaret Thatcher, one of the UK’s most recognised political leaders.
“Dressed in the Baronial Gown of Kesteven and wearing the chain of the Order of the Garter, I think it is appropriate that she has a memorial in the heart of the historic region of Kesteven.”