Glasgow & West Scotland

Doubt remains over Glasgow Wellington 'cone hat' statue

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Media captionGlasgow City Council has come under fire over plans to end the traffic cone tradition on top of the Duke of Wellington monument

Glasgow City Council has not ruled out reviving plans to prevent traffic cones being placed on the iconic Duke of Wellington statue.

The authority withdrew a planning application to raise the monument's plinth after a social media storm.

However, a council official said they would still address safety concerns about people scaling the statue.

Director Brian Devlin said this could include raising the plinth or putting other measures in place.

Mr Devlin, executive director of land and environmental services, said: "The Wellington statue needs some repair work done to it. Over the years there has been corrosion, a number of pieces have fallen off, so, along with other monuments we have a maintenance plan.

"We are looking to spend some money on the monument to make sure its fit-for-purpose for future generations of Glaswegians to enjoy."

Public safety

Asked if that still included plans to raise the plinth, Mr Devlin told the BBC: "As part of the overall programme of improvements we're looking at public safety for the monument.

"If that means that we raise the plinth, or put something else to make sure the public continue to be safe, we'll do whatever it takes."

It emerged on Monday that the council had submitted a planning application to raise the plinth as part of a £65,000 project to refurbish the monument, which stands outside the Gallery of Modern Art in the city centre.

A business case report said that raising the height would end the 30-year-old practice of placing a cone on the head of the statue, which projected a "depressing image" of Glasgow.

The document also said this would help save the £10,000 cost of removing the cone 100 times a year.

However, the council reconsidered its decision after an online petition called "Save Wellington's Cone", which gathered thousands of signatories in just a few hours, and a Facebook campaign which called for a rally in support of the cone.

A council spokesman said: "The wording of the report was appalling and the leader of the council (Gordon Matheson) has instructed officers to withdraw the planning application."

He later said they would submit a new application but confirmed that they would "definitely not be seeking to raise the plinth".

However, Mr Devlin's comments to the BBC suggest council officials are still considering plans which could see the traffic cone practice restricted or ended on public safety grounds.

Image caption The cone storm prompted a small street party in protest on Tuesday evening

The petition which led the social media storm stated: "The cone on Wellington's head is an iconic part of Glasgow's heritage, and means far more to the people of Glasgow and to visitors than Wellington himself ever has.

"Raising the statue will, in any case, only result in people injuring themselves attempting to put the cone on anyway: does anyone really think that a raised plinth will deter drunk Glaswegians?"

The plans for a rally were replaced by a "cone party", which saw dozens of Glaswegians turn out in support of the statue-topping tradition.

The Wellington statue was sculpted by Italian artist Carlo Marochetti and erected in 1844.

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