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27th Jun, 2022

Bard statue bid back on agenda

Laura Kearns 26th Feb, 2017

A MAJOR new statute of Shakespeare could finally grace the streets of Stratford – a year after original plans were withdrawn.

A proposal has been submitted to Stratford District Council to unveil a bronze sculpture of the Bard at the junction between High Street and Sheep Street, opposite the Town Hall on the site of the former Corn Exchange.

Local businessman Tony Bird has commissioned the three metre tall statue designed by Warwickshire-based sculptor James Butler.

Last year he applied for the sculpture to be installed on the roundabout at the top of Bridge Street but the plans were withdrawn amid safety fears.

But councillors said it could be a distraction to drivers and tourists could try to get to the roundabout so they could take pictures.

At the time Mr Bird told The Observer that Stratford needed to recognise its most famous son more.

He said: “It would be the first statue of Shakespeare to be erected in Stratford since the Gower Memorial was first located in Theatre Garden well over 100 years ago in the late 1800s.

“A large bronze statue of Shakespeare was installed in the Shakespeare Centre by Levis Fox 50 years ago. However, this is indoors and not seen by the general public as are the beautiful Gower Memorial statues.”

Mr Bird – who grew up at Alveston Manor – is now hoping to site it at the new town centre location.

The pplication reads: “The proposed installation of a statue of William Shakespeare will be sympathetic to the existing context and listed buildings which surround the site.

“The impact on the surrounding area will be neutral and the application should be supported.”

The statue would be the third commissioned by Mr Bird in the town. He has already funded a bronze figure of Henry V at the Maybird Centre and the statue of the Jester in Henley Street.

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