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Charter year monument is stone dead

PUBLISHED: 17:09 28 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:28 30 June 2010

AFTER a series of delays and complications plans for a giant rock monument marking Great Yarmouth's 800th charter year finally appear stone dead.

Now, almost 18 months after it should have been unveiled, borough council leaders have agreed to scupper the sculpture.

AFTER a series of delays and complications plans for a giant rock monument marking Great Yarmouth's 800th charter year finally appear stone dead.

Now, almost 18 months after it should have been unveiled, borough council leaders have agreed to scupper the sculpture.

Set to have been placed next to the Fisherman's Hospital, the stone structure was to have been an echo of the town's long vanished Market Cross. However, a combination of objections by English Heritage, cost issues and lack of alternative sites has resulted in the scheme being shelved.

The saga has been branded an “embarrassing mess” by borough council Labour group leader Michael Castle, who is a member of committee that organised the year long Charter celebration.

He said: “This means we won't have a stand-out monument that really leaves a legacy of the Charter commemoration.

“There is a lot of anger this will not be going ahead, it has ended up as an embarrassing mess. There were problems placing the monument in the Market Place, but other locations should be considered.

“The monument could be placed near the jetty, so even if that is removed at least the area could still be marked out as special.

“Apparently this is unsuitable because the seafront is outside the medieval town, but Yarmouth's wealth came from the sea and the herring trade.”

Originally planned to consist of three large boulders, the charter monument was scaled down after probes found the ground outside the Fisherman's Hospital to be unstable.

English Heritage raised concerns about the appearance of the structure and an alternative location near the Market Place big screen also ruled out.

The eight-tonne rock from the outer harbour would have featured scenes from the town created by local stonemason Colin Smith and artist Ernie Childs of Great Yarmouth Potteries.

Mr Smith said: “I don't want to say too much until the decision had been confirmed, but I have had my doubts this would go ahead for the last 18 months.”

The bulk funding for the project from sponsors PKF, Palmers, JH Bunn and Perenco is believed to have been returned.

Borough council leader Barry Coleman said: “English Heritage won't support the monument being placed outside the Fisherman's Hospital without changes to the design.

“They wanted it on a brick plinth, but the charter committee did not wish to pursue this. Other locations put forward have not been appropriate - you cannot have a market cross outside the Market Place. The Town Centre Partnership was opposed to the cross being placed by the big screen, so I cannot see how this can progress.”

The decision to scrap the idea was taken by the cabinet's corporate management board and is expected to be confirmed at a Charter committee meeting on February 8.


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