Councillors up for ‘free’ Thatcher statue in Grantham

Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
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Further support has been expressed for a statue of Margaret to be erceted in Grantham.

Longtime advocate Coun Ray Wootten asked deputy leader Kelham Cooke at a full meeting of South Kesteven District Council if it would welcome a statue of the former prime minister, who was born and bred in Grantham.

Coun Cooke replied: “Yes, if there’s no charge, then absolutely. Regardless of what we think of her politics, she was the first scientist PM as well as the first woman PM. If there’s a statue going for free, we might as well accept it.”

Council leader Matthew Lee said later: “The Conservative group wish to see a statue. It’s a very emotive issue. The 1980s were a time of great change, for which many people may not recognise the improvements. We recognise a daughter of this town became prime minister.”

Coun Lee said Grantham does not “make enough of itself....it (Mrs Thatcher) is one (issue) that we should address. We should address all the great other things that have come from this town.”

Council chairman Bob Sampson suggested Coun Lee produce a report on the matter.

The moves follow Westminster Council refusing plans for a statue.

This week, Grantham MP Nick Boles told the Journal: “I have long campaigned for a statue of Margaret Thatcher in the town and helped raise a lot of money towards this goal.”

The MP added: “​I am happy for the council to decide on the best location for a statue. I have always thought it would be better not to use taxpayers money to pay for the statue and to raise the money privately.”

Meanwhile, Grantham Museum has distanced itself from calls from councillors about the possibility of a statue being erected inside the town museum.

Coun Wootton has said he would prefer a statue outside the museum, whilst Labour councillor Charmaine Morgan has suggested it be erected inside.

Museum project director David Burling said he was ‘surprised’ at such comments saying no approach from the councillors have been made to him about the museum hosting a statue. But he planned to meet Coun Wootten on Friday February 2.

Mr Burling said Westminster Council refused permission for a statue, saying the Thatcher family were unhappy with the proposed design as it did not feature Mrs Thatcher’s iconic handbag. They might be unhappy were Grantham to try and have the very same statue erected here. Other issues such as the cost of hosting the statue would still have be discussed, even if it was offered ‘free.’

He added: “With efforts to previous fundraising efforts to create a statue. These efforts are still on going. A working party has been formed to review progress and an announcement will be made in due course.”