Concerns over 'ridiculous' taxpayer cost of £100,000 surfing statue in Newquay

The statue depicts a surfer riding a wave and has been designed to celebrate the sport and its links to Newquay Credit: Keogh Foundation

There are concerns over the amount of money 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.

But there are fears that taxpayers will have to foot the bill for the siting and maintenance of the sculpture.

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.

Details of the possible cost to the council were provided in the survey which was given to residents as part of a survey.

The document also said the council was investigating the use of solar panels to provide energy to light up the statue.

Monique Collins from Disc, a drop-in centre in Newquay, told The Guardian: “For council tax to go on a statue when so many people are struggling to eat properly or pay their bills is ridiculous.”

Green councillor Kate Larsen added: “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 there had been strong support for the statue.

He said: “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.”

Mr Keogh added: “Surfing plays a significant social, economic, and cultural role in the development of many coastal communities – and this is certainly the case with Newquay. 

"Surfers who travel the globe see iconic structures, honouring the value of surfing in key locations such as Santa Cruz, Huntington Beach, Honolulu, Nazare and Florianópolis. 

"Yet, despite the mammoth array of positive impacts that surfing has had on Newquay, and the significant numbers of tourists who come every year, we don’t have a monument to celebrate the sport that has carved out everything that this town is today. 

"Surfers, locals and visitors alike flock to statues such as this to get their photos taken and then they post these up on social media, so the whole world can see what Newquay is all about.

“We have the support of a large number of the surfing community and also of Visit Cornwall who have confirmed that a statue such as this would create a brilliant impression, and could even bring up to £500,000 of additional publicity value and extra income per year for Newquay, especially as surfing is now an Olympic sport."

"Our Keogh Foundation is delighted to make the gift of all the costs for the sculpture which will be in the region of £100,000, and would be delighted if Newquay Town Council would contribute the one off cost of siting, likely to be around £10,000, and the yearly cost of maintenance which will be approximately £1,000 per year.”

Newquay Town Council is set to meet today (7 September) to discuss the statue and the response to the consultation.

Credit: Local Democracy Reporter Service/Richard Whitehouse