Concerns have been raised about how much a bronze sculpture designed to celebrate Newquay’s surfing heritage could cost local taxpayers.
The five-metre tall £100,000 sculpture, which is planned for a site overlooking Towan Beach, is set to be donated by the Keogh Foundation.
A survey was carried out in Newquay this summer, to see if there was public support for the sculpture and the results of that are due to go before Newquay Town Council next week.
However there are concerns that taxpayers will have to foot the bill for the siting and maintenance of the sculpture.
The bronze sculpture, which depicts a surfer riding a wave, has been proposed to celebrate the 60 years since Newquay became the UK’s surfing mecca.
But a report to the council said that it could cost the authority £20,000 for the initial costs to install the statue and then £2,500 a year to maintain it, such as electricity, cleaning and insurance.
A report going to the town council next week indicates that the survey received 732 responses, although 105 were discounted as they either did not complete the form properly or were from people who live outside Newquay parish.
Of the 627 eligible responses, 407 were in favour of the statue with 220 voting against it.
The survey said that the council was investigating the use of solar panels to provide energy to light up the statue.
But some are concerned about the cost to taxpayers.
Green councillor Kate Larsen said: “It doesn’t feel right when that money could be spent on people who are really struggling in a cost of living crisis.
"I’m absolutely for beautifying the town, but I would rather funds go to ensuring the lowest paid town council employees and contractors earn a real living wage and that we support local charities helping people in this perfect storm of stressful housing challenges, energy cost rises, and inflation.”
Stuart Keogh from the Keogh Foundation said that there had been strong support for the statue: “We firmly believe that this gift to Newquay should be situated in the centre of the home of British surfing, in the spot that overlooks those breaks that the original Newquay surfers most utilised sixty years ago and that spot is the Killacourt.”
Newquay Town Council is set to meet next week (September 7) to discuss the statue and the response to the consultation.
Credit: Richard Whitehouse, Local Democracy Reporter