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Mermaid statue finally approved
Published 10/12/12

A MERMAID statue will be placed on Red Lion Lawn in Henley.

The town council approved having the 6ft 6in bronze sculpture at the riverside attraction by a single vote at a meeting last week.

Henley is one of 20 places around the world chosen to have a statue as “a place of beauty near water”.

The 370lb sculpture will be sold and replaced every few years with a third of the proceeds being given to a charity of the council’s choice. The council will have no financial responsibility for the statue as a charitable foundation, which is sponsoring the artist, will meet all the costs.

Councillor David Clenshaw, an opponent of the statue, said it was “premature” to make a decision when the lawn had just been refurbished.

He said the statue would spoil the look of Red Lion Lawn, adding: “When you come across the bridge, it is an iconic view of the front of Red Lion Hotel. I don’t know if anyone has consulted the hotel on the matter?”

Councillor Ian Reissmann said he felt the lawn was the wrong place for the statue but added: “After what the Red Lion Hotel has done to one of the town’s beautiful buildings, I don’t think we should be taking their opinion.”

Councillor David Nimmo Smith said he would rather have a mermaid than a hot dog van, which had been suggested, and was supported by Councillor Lorraine Hillier.

Councillor Jeni Wood said the site was “ideal”.

Councillor Sam Evans, who first put forward the idea, said: “We have been talking about this for nearly a year and they have responded to everything that every councillor has asked.

“They are very aware of how precious Henley is, not just to us and the residents but also our visitors. Are we going to keep sending it back to the recreation and amenities committee because one councillor doesn’t particularly want it? I didn’t get elected to talk about the same thing over and over.”

The council voted against referring the proposal back to the committee stage by eight votes to seven and approved putting the statue on the lawn by the same margin.

lIn last week’s Standard, quotes were wrongly attributed to Councillor Lorraine Hillier saying she was opposed to all three proposed sites for the statue. In fact, she is in favour of the statue and the quotes should have been attributed to Councillor Elizabeth Hodgkin. We apologise for any misunderstanding.

Published 10/12/12

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