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Oakham’s Queen statue is on the move to prevent road accidents

A statue of the Queen will be positioned behind a library to avoid it causing car crashes.

The bronze likeness of Queen Elizabeth II, who died in September last year, was going to be in front of Oakham Library in Catmose Street.

But members of Rutland County Council planning committee were told at a meeting on September 19 that it might prove a distraction to drivers.

The committee was also told the statue will be a bit shorter than originally planned, with the height of the base plinth reduced. A peacock sculpture will be moved to make way for the Queen and three corgis.

Former mayor of Oakham, Joyce Lucas, spoke in support of the statue and, having carried out an ad hoc survey of Rutlanders, said people felt the statue will bring visitors to Oakham.

She said: “It will be a fitting memorial to our late monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, and we should be proud that the money has been raised by private subscription - yet another indication of the love and respect for our beloved, late Queen. Therefore, I, and many, many others, agree that this project should proceed.”

The Queen’s head finally unwrapped
The Queen’s head finally unwrapped

The statue is costing £125,000 mainly being paid for by donations.

Resident Rosemary Whittaker, who opposes the statue, was concerned about who would own and maintain it once the person behind the idea, Lord Lieutenant of Rutland Dr Sarah Furness, is no longer in the post.

“The county council has said it won’t maintain it. The town council has said it won’t maintain it. Is the Lord Lieutenant able to pass this obligation on with no funds to the next post-holder? I wonder if there should be a condition that talks about how this could be looked at in perpetuity?”

She added that objecting was not being disloyal to the late monarch’s memory, or the current royal family, but that “the statue is out of place in a cost of living crisis, and out of place in our lovely town.”

The statue clearly showing part of the steel skeleton frame which supports the 800kg of clay
The statue clearly showing part of the steel skeleton frame which supports the 800kg of clay

Dr Furness reiterated the benefits it would bring, including enhancing tourist interest in Oakham.

She added: “Tourism brings £141 million to Rutland each year, but most tourists concentrate on Rutland Water. Oakham – our county town – with its hidden assets of the castle, Butter Cross Museum, and so on, misses out.

“This statue will provide an attraction that will bring visitors into the town, giving them an opportunity to ‘discover’ Oakham and I believe the town will benefit greatly.”

She said she had asked about maintenance of the bronze Princess Diana statue at Kensington Palace, and was told it had not needed any work in more than 20 years.

“Bronze statues are very tough,” she added.

Coun Andrew Brown (Ind) asked if the statue would be insured against damage and was told this was being looked into.

Eleven committee members voted to approve the revised location of the statue, with one abstention.

The statue has been sculpted in clay by Hywel Pratley and is being cast in bronze.

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