Alternative idea in row over £2,500 Market Drayton memorial to Covid victims

An alternative proposal for Covid tribute in Market Drayton has been put forward after the town council's controversial proposal was approved by planners.

One of Kevin Nutley's designs. Photo: Kevin Nutley (Concept Stained Glass)
One of Kevin Nutley's designs. Photo: Kevin Nutley (Concept Stained Glass)

Market Drayton Town Council proposed to erect a granite memorial about a metre and a half tall near the library in Cheshire Street.

It is intended to mark the impact of the pandemic on the town and recognise the resilience of its community, and Shropshire Council officers granted planning permission last week.

That was in the face of several objections from townspeople, who branded it a "waste of money".

The Drayton ArtsFest and Market Drayton Community Enterprise (MDCE) have now put forward an alternative to the granite memorial, an art installation created with wooden railway sleepers and inset coloured stained glass.

It would be funded with money that would have gone on events which have been cancelled by the pandemic.

A joint statement from both organisations said: "Our overall design priorities [are] to symbolise respect, care and sensitivity to an all-age and gender audience; to represent a timeless and iconic piece of street furniture in the centre of the town.

"This will be a gift to the town from the combined committee team members of the Drayton ArtsFest and the MDCE as a gesture to the community to offset the cancellation of our community festival events in 2020 due to Covid.

"The proposed financing for this project will be allocated from money raised by members of the community at special events held in 2019 to support funding the 2020 ArtsFest and MDCE festivals."

Artist

The groups have identified an artist in Kevin Nutley of Concept Stained Glass.

Town mayor Roy Aldcroft said that discussions for the council's memorial had begun as far back as October and that the topic has featured on several meeting agendas since.

He said: "The plinth will be of polished granite with the NHS logo and appropriate wording located near seating, with flowerbeds close by. The total cost for this plinth will be in the region of £2,500.

"The funding for this has come from town council funds and contrary to some comments cannot be used for road repairs or rate reductions, which are both in the remit of Shropshire Council.

"All this discussion has been promulgated in agendas and minuted as is required, along with voice recordings. In addition, every council meeting has had a fifteen-minute space for members of the public to comment, none have.

“It has taken three council meetings and six months to organise, hopefully it will be installed within weeks.”

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