December 17, 2020 10.51 am This story is over 41 months old

Opposition calls in council decision to fund £100k Thatcher statue event

Concerns over crime, disorder and maintenance

South Kesteven District councillors will have to reconsider their plan to underwrite a £100k launch event for a 10ft statue of former PM Margaret Thatcher in the centre of her home town, Grantham.

Independent Councillor Ashley Baxter, an opposition member, requested the call in for the scrutiny committee, which could reverse the controversial decision by the Conservative leadership.

He said: “The decision has been taken entirely by local members of the Conservative party without even a proper opportunity for discussion, let alone a vote.”

“There is no clear outline business plan explaining how third-party funding will be acquired, let alone why the council has somehow taken on responsibility for the fundraising.”

Cllr Baxter is concerned the council would have to also cover the cost of maintaining the statue, as well as the crime and disorder threat to the monument.

The plinth the Margaret Thatcher Statue will be placed upon. | Photo: Kylie Warrington

At the start of December, council leaders agreed to set aside the £100k to unveil in Grantham town centre the controversial statue of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. But the council hoped to raise the money for the event, and then fill any gaps.

The bronze statue was acquired for £300,000, mainly through public fundraising, private donations and supporters of Grantham Museum. It’s currently stored at “a secret location”.

The council agreed to put it on a 10ft-high plinth to prevent vandalism, making the entire structure more than 20ft overall.

People took to social media to voice their opinions, with over 14,000 on Facebook registering their interest in attending an egg-throwing contest once the statue was unveiled.