Statue of ‘the person responsible for York’s fiascos’ planned

29 Oct 2014 @ 3.24 pm
| Environment, Politics

Cllr Mark Warters and Matthew Laverack at the location of the planned statue, as the memorial to George Leeman looks on
Most statues commemorate great heroes. But one disgruntled York resident plans to erect a statue of the person “most responsible for the fiascos that have afflicted the City of York in the last four years”.

And who would that be? Well, it’s up to you.

Architect and businessman Matthew Laverack has submitted a planning application for the statue, which he calls the Monument To Mismanagement.

His plan envisages a monument to match the one of George Leeman, the Victorian lawyer and politician.

Only his version would memorialise the person that a public vote decided did the most to mismanage the city since 2011.

“It is hoped that this statue will be completed and unveiled in 2015 after the death of the current regime at City of York Council,” the application states.

It would stand opposite Leeman, on a traffic island at Station Rise now home to a flowerbed, and like its 19th century predecessor the new statue would be a lifesize figure carved in limestone atop a square pedestal.

This application “highlights very serious issues which need to be addressed,” said Mr Laverack.

“The city of York is in a horrendous mess, the like of which which I have not seen before in my 63 years – and someone must be culpable.”

Public vote

The George Leeman statue was funded by public subscription, and Mr Laverack wants his Monument To Mismanagement to be funded the same way.

What would be carved on the statue

EPIC FAIL 2011-2015
Union Terrace
Beckfield Lane
Kings Square
Lendal Bridge
Newgate Market
Local Development Framework
Twentys Plenty
Arts Barge
Traffic Flow
City Centre Parking
Governance & Transparency
Freedom of Information
Get York Building
Social Care
Elderly Homes
Youth Services
Salt Bins
Street Cleaning
Blocked Drains

“It is intended that a wide public consultation will take place with citizens voting for the person they think most responsible for the fiascos that have afflicted the City of York in the last four years in York,” the application states.

“That person to be the subject of the carved life size statue. The next three persons held most culpable for failure in local governance will have their faces carved in relief on three sides of the pedestal.”

Mr Laverack’s plans go on to state: “The citizens of York have suffered badly over the last four years at the hands of those currently in charge at York Council.

“This statue will give a much needed boost to their morale. It will also be a perpetual reminder not to allow a repeat of local misgovernance.”

He submitted the plans with independent York councillor Mark Warters. “Mark Warters has agreed to be the applicant so that the application must go to committee,” Mr Laverack explained.

“If I submitted in my name the council would determine it in secret behind closed doors using an abuse of delegated officer powers.

“These delegated powers were only ever intended for small uncontroversial applications; never for everyday submissions.

“It is another example of ‘mismanagement’ which this monument is intended to highlight.”

This is the second time Mr Laverack and Mr Warters have united on a planning application. Their previous submission, to create a travellers’ site on the doorstep of the council HQ, is the subject of dispute.

Application ‘invalid’

Sarah Tanburn, interim director of city and environmental services at the council, said the application had been rejected.

“We can confirm we have received the planning application. However, during the normal validation process this was found to be technically invalid.

“This was in relation to land ownership. The applicants have been informed.”

A spokesperson for the ruling Labour group said: “This is an example of personalised nasty politics that does nothing to serve the people of York.

“Council staff should not have to waste their time processing Councillor Warters’ publicity stunts when they should be serving the people of York.”