Controversial Stroud statue could be removed after the council backs calls to make it a museum piece

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Councillors in Stroud have backed plans to remove a 248-year-old clock which has been described as "offensive" and "racist".

They have supported proposals to remove the Blackboy clock statue and could rename streets and buildings following a significant public response.

In the wake of the Black Lives Matter Protests of 2020, there were more than 1,600 responses to a council-led review of street names and monuments. Civic leaders are now backing plans to explore the removal of the 18th century clock and figurine.

The process is not straightforward as the clock in in private ownership and listed planning consent would be needed should anyone wish to remove it.

Other recommendations include the council progressing plans to restore the Anti-Slavery Arch, the installation of an information plaque outside Blackboy House, and the development of community projects for the commemoration of individuals, groups or events.

Councillor Natalie Bennett said: “The worldwide Black Lives Matter protests in June 2020 rightly highlighted the ongoing injustice and discrimination experienced by people across the world.

"One important issue that arose was the appropriateness of commemoration of people and events from history and their relevance today.

"This council committed to consult with our communities and undertake a review of any street and building name, statues and architectural features in the district which may be considered offensive."

Some councillors questioned the need to remove the clock and statue suggesting it would be comparable to erasing history and suggested keeping the monuments and adding a plaque might be more appropriate.

Others raised concerns over the estimated total cost of the recommendations which adds up to more than £50,000 in total. More than half of that would be the cost to remove the clock.

Questions were also raised over the validity of the consultation as around 600 people who took part didn't live in the district.

Other reviews have taken place elsewhere in the country which has led to name changes. In Bristol several places lost their "Colston" name including Colston Hall - which has become Bristol Beacon - and both schools in the city which were named after the slave trader.

There are eight properties with the "Blackboys" address. The review panel recommended that the council consults with residents to consider renaming the street.