Councillors have overwhelmingly voted against a proposal by the Labour group for a statue of Grantham-born former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the town. Councillors voted 40 against and only seven in favour of the idea.
During South Kesteven District Council’s full council meeting this afternoon, the Labour group presented a budget amendment proposing a competition for local artists and students to present their ideas for a statue in the town which would be put in the George Centre or the museum for security reasons. Alongside this idea it was proposed that a permanent crafts centre be established in the town, possibly with the statue in the George Centre, to attract more visitors and tourists to the town, and also that a number of noticeboards are put up in the town to promote tourist trails.
The council was accused of keeping people in the dark about plans for a commemoration of Baroness Thatcher’s life. Coun Frances Cartwright said: “People do not know about them because it is unseemly to talk about them now when she is so ill.”
Labour Group leader Charmaine Morgan said: “Given our aim is to increase the footfall into Grantham and to attract visitors from overseas who are known to have high levels of spending whilst in the UK, we believe that we must seize the opportunity for the people of Grantham to increase spending here. Last year £11bn was spent by tourists in our region. Many of those tourists came up from London. We must take more advantage, through marketing, of our links to London, and we need a package of deliverables to attract tourists in addition to our existing offering. Our Crafts Centre and Lady Thatcher statue would be a start.
“In the interest of our community the Labour Group is therefore proposing that we act together as council to put an end to the uncertainty about how we will celebrate this remarkable character as a daughter of Grantham. We ask that all parties join us and support our proposal to have a competition which will enable the participation of local educational establishments and artists to produce a suitable statue/bust alongside an exhibit which explores Lady Thatcher’s life and examines what made her such a controversial and internationally recognised figure – even today.”