'An iconic part of local heritage': Glasgow Council drops £65,000 plans to raise Duke of Wellington statue that reguarly has traffic cones placed on its head

Council planned refurbishment aimed at ending the practice of placing a cone on the figures head

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The Independent Online

A public outcry has caused Glasgow Council to withdraw plans to raise a statue of the Duke of Wellington that regularly has traffic cones placed on its head.

The proposed £65,000 refurbishment - which would have seen the statue's plinth raised to over 6ft in an effort to "deter all but the most determined of vandals" - was aimed at ending the practice, which Glasgow Council says projects a "depressing" image of Glasgow.

According to the council, the cost of removing a cone from the Duke of Wellington's head each time is £100.

The plans were dropped after a petition set up by Donna Yates and Gavin Doig received more than 10,000 signatures, and a 'Save the Cone' Facebook page attracted 45,000 likes.

The statue was sculpted by Italian artist Carlo Marochetti and erected in 1844 to mark the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo. Over the years, students and other revellers have placed an orange traffic cone on Wellington's head, making it an almost-permanent feature of the statue.

"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," the petition says.

Campaigner Michael Gray was at the statue this morning, wearing a cone-shaped hat, and was glad to hear that the plans had been dropped.

"I think it was a big mistake; 45,000 people have liked a Facebook page campaign to save the cone from the council's decision and there was no consultation. It was just taken from on high by the council but we're happy now that they've backed down," he said.

"It's funny and cheers people up on their way to work and I think that's a good thing for the city. It's difficult to put a price on something like that.

"If they had raised it, I think someone would have just put it back on. It's already quite high so no matter how high it is, someone would just get a bigger ladder."

Mr Gray has organised a protest at the statue for later today, although he said there will now be a change of tone.

"Due to the cone-siderable outcry from the citizens of Glasgow, we organised a protest to save the cone this evening, but it will now be a celebration of the cone," he said.

"I'm sure people will have cone hats and outfits and there will be plenty of cone puns on signs."

Some people outlined their objections to the plan on the online petition.

Jennie Kermode wrote: "As a regular writer of tourist brochures, I note that much of what attracts visitors to Glasgow is the humour of its people. This is not something the council should be ashamed of."

Lara Davis wrote: "The cone is more of a symbol of the defiant, fun spirit which Glasgow has always embodied and for which it's renowned throughout the world."

But some people supported the council's plan.

Sandy Stoddart, the Queen's sculptor in Scotland, told The Herald newspaper: "Any move to end the tedious, unfunny, irreverent and strangely righteous addiction Glasgow has had to coning the Wellington statue I greet with warmth.

"The single most embarrassing thing about the culture of Glasgow has been the cone on the Duke's head. It is detestable."

Additional reporting PA