SKEGNESS Town Council has refused to take responsibility for the procurement of a new Jolly Fisherman statue, fearing it could be lumbered with unaffordable additional costs.
Lincolnshire County Council, as reported in last week’s Standard, had proposed that the town council purchase, install and maintain a replacement statue of the town’s iconic mascot for the railway station plaza with a grant of £30,000.
This offer came after town councillors rejected the county council’s initial statue plans, which some claimed looked like a ‘gargoyle’.
However, during last Wednesday’s Skegness Town Council meeting, councillors refused the latest offer, which they feared would take up too much of the council’s limited officer time and may burden it with unaffordable insurance and maintenance costs.
Mayor of Skegness Coun Mark Anderson said: “I’m disappointed by the letter we’ve received - they are willing to give us the grant but not to help us with the tender process which could cost a considerable amount of officer time and more money outside of what the grant covers, which we would have to pay.
“I’m sorry that we’ve got into a situation with this - I don’t believe it’s in the spirit of partnership.”
Coun Neil Cooper, who has been involved in coordinating the work from a LCC perspective, agreed that the letter offering the proposal was ‘a little blunt’ but felt further assistance would be available through the county council of requested.
“This is not a case of you’re on your own, it’s more a case of the ball’s in your court,” he said.
“The whole idea of this was to control back to the town council so you can have a statue in the style that you want, in a colour that you want and a size you want - it’s not a case of the county council walking away.”
Faced with these fears of extra financial responsibility, councillors decided to reject the county council’s offer and return to the initial proposal, which was for the town council to have input over the design of the statue, which would be funded by the county council.