'Gargoyle' of council leader appears on Wiltshire pizza shop after planning permission gets rejected

  • Watch Verity Wishart's report

A Wiltshire builder has erected a 'gargoyle' of a council leader after his planning permission was rejected.

The unusual statue of Trowbridge Councillor Stewart Palmen appeared after the plan to convert an old pizza takeaway into a three-storey seven-bedroom house was rejected.

Michael Thomas who has defied an enforcement notice has now resorted to poking fun at the local councillor who objected the plans.

Cllr Stewart Palmen describes seeing the grotesque for the first time: "It's the residents here that told me that it had gone up, so I walked over here with my wife and looked at it and was instantly amused by it, took a photograph and put it up as my facebook page."

"I see the resemblance, especially the glasses they got that perfectly. I used to have a full beard a while ago, so it's easily identifiable as me, so they've done a good cartoon image."

Michael Thomas has installed a carved stone grotesque at one end of the roof at 12 Newtown.

However he did mention there was something the artist had forgotten: "There is my hat, but they did get my balding head."

Builder, Michael Thomas told ITV News West Country, "We had to give something that made people laugh, make people interested and the gargoyle was our choice and we chose to do it. The artist Rob, and myself and we thought yes that's definitely the point and it worked."

Cllr Palmen hasn't been too offended by the sculpture, he said: "I could get wound up and start banging the table but to what will do is increase my blood pressure and gain a few wrinkles.

"There's part of me hoping it will stay there forever you know most councillors or local dignitaries they have statues made of them after they've expired so I've got something made of me just around the corner from where I live that will remind people of what a wonderful councillor I am."

One thing they both agree on, is the gargoyle should be here to stay.

"It's there permanently, it's part of the building", said Thomas.

The legal battle continues with Mr Thomas due to appear at Swindon Magistrates' Court on 27 October accused of failing to comply with an enforcement notice.