February 2, 2021 5.13 pm This story is over 37 months old

Council sets out £100k Thatcher statue unveiling budget

A big bash for the controversial statue

A breakdown of the estimated £100,000 cost of the Margaret Thatcher statue unveiling event in Grantham has been revealed by South Kesteven District Council.

The £300,000 bronze statue of the Iron Lady, which will sit on a 10ft plinth (making it 20ft tall overall), on St Peter’s Hill Green, was brought to the town by Grantham Museum, SKDC and a Public Memorials Appeal.

South Kesteven District Council’s leadership previously agreed plans to underwrite an estimated £100k unveiling, attempting to reassure critics the money would be recouperated through fundraising. However, scrutiny councillors later called on the authority to show how that can be done.

An estimated £50,200 will go towards external events organisation such as production and account management, audio/media for guests, staging, seating, an unveiling mechanism and crew labour.

Approximately £24,250 will include essential costs for public safety such as medical support, stewarding/security, barriers, road closures, guest refreshments, event infrastructure and pre-event security.

There is also an optional extra cost of £35,040 which is not included in the £100,000 that could go towards a sound system, stage lighting, shelter for the seated area, a web page with live streaming as well as filming and editing of the event and promotional material.

If this cost is included, the event is looking at an estimate of £109,490.

Sculptor Douglas Jennings applying the finishing touches to the stature when it was created.

There will be a private fundraising appeal to raise money for the event and any surplus is hoped to go towards the statue maintenance, local projects and a donation to the Grantham Community Heritage Association (Grantham Museum).

It is proposed that up to 50 seats will be offered at the unveiling event for the biggest donors – with 200+ guests invited plus VIPs.

The details around the fundraising appeal are yet to be finalised and the unveiling will not happen until after the coronavirus pandemic.

Cllr Kelham Cooke, Leader of South Kesteven District Council said in Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting: “The unveiling of the statute provides a unique opportunity to celebrate our heritage and harness national and international interest to promote South Kesteven, as a visitor destination and attracting investment, all of which support plans to boost the local economy and regenerate the local area.”

In December 2020, Independent Councillor Ashley Baxter, an opposition member, requested a call in for the scrutiny committee to have the controversial decision by the Conservative leadership properly scrutinised, to ensure the council was open and transparent in its plan.

Over 14,000 people on Facebook registered their interest in attending an egg-throwing contest at the statue when it is installed.