BUSINESSMAN Tony Bird wants to place a new statue on Stratford’s Bridge Street roundabout despite previously being refused permission.
The chairman of property company the Bird Group revealed proposals in 2016 to site a four metre high bronze statue of Shakespeare on the same town centre roundabout, but planning chiefs ruled it would be a distraction to motorists.
The £100,000 statue of the Bard – designed by Warwickshire-based sculptor James Butler – is now set to find a home in nearby Henley Street in time for April’s birthday celebrations. It will be just a stone’s throw from the bronze sculpture The Jester – featuring the character Touchstone from As You Like It – which was also gifted to the town by Mr Bird in 1994.
And Mr Bird’s latest statue plans come just days after the long-awaited arrival of his Henry V statue on the Rosebird roundabout. The statue is currently missing a sword but is set to be completed over the next few days.
His latest proposals for the Bridge Street roundabout is for a sculpture – of similar size to the Shakespeare statue – depicting Jaques’ famous Seven Ages of Man speech from As You Like It.
A model has been made of the proposed circular sculpture which would include seven figures to demonstrate the Seven Ages of Man, from cradle to grave, along with Shakespeare himself at the centre.
Mr Bird told the Observer: “When I submitted plans for the Shakespeare statue I was told ‘It would be a danger’ which I really don’t understand. Look at all the statues in London. They’re not dangerous to traffic. There’s statues outside Parliament Square, Park Lane, Piccadilly. It doesn’t make sense to me or the public who I have spoken to.
“The beauty of having them on a roundabout is everyone can see them. I’d like statues on all the roundabouts so visitors know they’re coming to Shakespeare’s town.
“We should be proud of Shakespeare and visitors should know he is revered in the town as he is worldwide.”
But it will up to council chiefs to decide if the new statue can be placed on the Bridge Street roundabout. The final say on planning would have to be made by Stratford District Council, but Warwickshire County Council, as the highway authority, would also have to agree for it to be placed on the roundabout.