Friday 20 April 2018

New site for Shakespeare statue sought after road safety chiefs object

Sculptor James Butler with his statue of William Shakespeare
Sculptor James Butler with his statue of William Shakespeare

A statue of Shakespeare crafted by a world-renowned sculptor has yet to find a permanent home - after highways chiefs claimed it could distract motorists passing through Stratford-upon-Avon.

An application to erect the 8ft tribute - designed by James Butler - was withdrawn earlier this year after its proposed location was described as "unsuitable on grounds of highway safety".

Warwickshire County Council objected to the planned site - on a traffic island in Bridge Street, Stratford - because the busy roundabout leads onto five different roads.

In a letter sent to planners in February this year, the council stated: "There is the potential for vehicle conflict due to motorists looking at the statue and not concentrating on the traffic, as well was the potential for pedestrian/vehicle conflicts should pedestrians step out onto the carriageway and take photographs of the statue."

The planning application was withdrawn on February 24 by local businessman and benefactor Tony Bird, who commissioned the statue.

Stratford-upon-Avon Town Council had also objected to the "totally unsuitable" site but said it would welcome the gun metal bronze statue in a more appropriate and accessible setting.

Mr Butler, aged 84, has confirmed that his depiction of Shakespeare, cast at a foundry in Cropredy, Oxfordshire, remains in his yard in Warwickshire.

The sculptor told the Press Association: "My client was due to set it up where he thought appropriate in Stratford-upon-Avon.

"I took it for granted that it would be set up for the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death but of course it wasn't - and it's such a pity that it wasn't there."

Press Association

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