Health and safety fears lead to 'laughable' mock-up of Jolly Fisherman statue in Skegness
A MOCK-UP of how the new Jolly Fisherman statue at Skegness railway station could look has been described as "disgraceful" and "laughable" by councillors.
A prototype design model for the structure which is to be placed in the new station plaza, was presented at last week's full council meeting by Lincolnshire County Council but was met with disappointment from nearly all members present.
The figure, supposedly based on the original John Hassall painting, portrays Jolly holding a beach ball on his shoulder, patting the head of a seal pup with his other hand.
LCC's Anita Ruffle was keen to emphasise that the model was by no means the final design and that changes could be made.
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Describing the mock-up, Mrs Ruffle, said: "We are trying to keep his arms in because we did feel there was the issue of health and safety.
"We have got the starfish and the waves around the bottom. The facial expression is very similar to the images you sent us."
However Councillor Steve Kirk, disagreed saying the figure wouldn't look out of place amongst the gargoyles at Lincoln Cathedral.
He said: "I really am speechless, it would have been hard to make something uglier. I am amazed anyone would think we as a town council could accept that in a prominent position in our town."
Skegness Mayor, Councillor Mark Anderson, was also incensed.
He said: "I think it's absolutely disgraceful. How dare people bring this back when they are using public money. We hold this copyright for good reason because we don't want people to make a farce of our logo and our town and this to me is a farce, it's got no soul and it's cold and it's not what we are about."
Councillor Phil Kemp suggested the council withhold the copyright until they get an image they are happy with and questioned why granite was to be used for the sculpture when the town council had expressly said they didn't want it.
Mrs Ruffle said it was down to the tendering process and that granite was the material of the preferred bidder so was not something that could be changed.
She said: "We have to decide what it's going to be – a Jolly made of granite or are you saying there will be no granite in which case there will be no commission for Jolly. It's really an either-or."
Lincolnshire County Council said that as the tendering process had not been completely finalised, they couldn't confirm the cost of the statue but it would be coming out the £750,000 plaza scheme budget.
Councillor Kirk suggested that a design could be looked at along
the lines of the previous railway station statue, with a metal spade and suitcase.
After a lengthy discussion, it was agreed that a small group of councillors should be tasked with working with LCC on a design that they found suitable before bringing back the final image back before the full council for approval.