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Furious locals blast Labour council’s move to rip down Prince Philip statue as ‘leftie, woke censorship’ – after the controversial £150,000 sculpture in Cambridge was branded ‘possibly the poorest quality work’ by city chiefs

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Residents in Cambridge today blasted its left-wing Labour city council’s ‘woke‘ decision to order the removal of a controversial statue of Prince Philip after describing it as ‘possibly the poorest quality work’ ever submitted.

The £150,000 13-ft sculpture called ‘The Don’ – a towering bronze statue designed to pay tribute to the late Duke of Edinburgh‘s 35 years as Chancellor of Cambridge University – was built in 2014 and given a prime spot outside a city centre office block.

Last year, however, the statue was moved further down Hills Road and placed in front of a building owned by the Unex Group, a property developer based in Cambridge and London that commissioned the statue.

Cambridge City Council has now issued an enforcement letter ordering the statue to be torn down as it does not have planning permission to be placed outside Charter House, adding that it has a ‘harmful material impact’.

Councillors claim that nearby residents living on Norwich Road want the statue removed adding that children ‘get scared’ passing the 13ft structure.

The £150,000 13-ft bronze sculpture called 'The Don' (picture) was built in 2014 and given a prime spot outside a city centre office block

It was designed to pay tribute to the late Duke of Edinburgh's (pictured) 35 years as Chancellor of Cambridge University

The £150,000 13-ft sculpture called ‘The Don’ (left) – a towering bronze statue designed to pay tribute to the late Duke of Edinburgh’s (right) 35 years as Chancellor of Cambridge University – was built in 2014 and given a prime spot outside a city centre office block

Those who want it to stay called the move 'leftie, woke censorship' ¿ and accused the council of 'jumping on the bandwagon' of removing statues of historical figures

Those who want it to stay called the move ‘leftie, woke censorship’ – and accused the council of ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ of removing statues of historical figures

Residents in Cambridge today blasted its left-wing Labour city council's ' woke ' decision to order the removal of a controversial statue of Prince Philip after describing it as 'possibly the poorest quality work' ever submitted. Pictured: Louise Hobbs

Residents in Cambridge today blasted its left-wing Labour city council’s ‘ woke ‘ decision to order the removal of a controversial statue of Prince Philip after describing it as ‘possibly the poorest quality work’ ever submitted. Pictured: Louise Hobbs

Lindsey Stemp (pictured), who has lived on the street for 40 years said: 'I think it's absolutely disgraceful that this chap is just allowed to dump a piece of art without permission from anybody'

Lindsey Stemp (pictured), who has lived on the street for 40 years said: ‘I think it’s absolutely disgraceful that this chap is just allowed to dump a piece of art without permission from anybody’

But the move has divided the city with some demanding the artwork remain – while those living close to what they call the ‘ugly’ and ’embarrassing’ monument to be taken away.

Those who want it to stay called the move ‘leftie, woke censorship’ – and accused the council of ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ of removing statues of historical figures.

One man who works on the street but asked to remain anonymous told MailOnline: ‘I don’t know why they are singling it out, I like it.

‘I think it will be a shame to lose it, maybe they have an issue because it’s Prince Philip, but I don’t see the harm of recognising the royals with a statue.

‘There is now censorship but we are all meant to have freedom in this country so we should be able to put up a statue of notable figures instead of jumping on the bandwagon of the historical ones that have been torn down in recent times.

‘I think it could have something to do with personal opinions rather than the canvasing the public first. Maybe it should have planning permission and it’s a shame they didn’t think of it but the council have taken long enough to act on it.’

The move has divided the city with some demanding the artwork remain ¿ while those living close to what they call the 'ugly' and 'embarrassing' monument to be taken away

The move has divided the city with some demanding the artwork remain – while those living close to what they call the ‘ugly’ and ’embarrassing’ monument to be taken away

A plaque under the sculpture reads: 'HRH Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, Chancellor University of Cambridge 1977-2011'

A plaque under the sculpture reads: ‘HRH Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, Chancellor University of Cambridge 1977-2011’

One man who works on the street but asked to remain anonymous told MailOnline: 'I don't know why they are singling it out, I like it'

One man who works on the street but asked to remain anonymous told MailOnline: ‘I don’t know why they are singling it out, I like it’

He added: ‘The trouble is people jump on the bandwagon. Someone takes a personal dislike and then they use that for their own motives, and that individual obviously wants to use any excuse they can to get rid of it.

‘They should canvas the public and ask what they think – after all they are public servants so they should be serving the public.’

Veronica Guasti and Gabriela Nica who work close to the statue added: ‘We like it and we will be very sad if it goes – maybe they could take the bear away instead. They have the giraffes around the city so this one should stay.

‘We see lots of tourists posing with it every day so it would be very sad.’

The statue which was created to represent Prince Phillip in his university robes has a plaque underneath it which reads: ‘HRH Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, Chancellor University of Cambridge 1977-2011.’

It was initially refused planning permission to be placed on Hills Road in 2014 after council workers described it as the worst piece of public art they had ever seen.

Victor Auy (pictured) who lives on the street said: 'It was illegal to have it erected in the first place as they did not have planning permission and if they reapplied for it, I don't think the council wanted it so it should be removed'

Victor Auy (pictured) who lives on the street said: ‘It was illegal to have it erected in the first place as they did not have planning permission and if they reapplied for it, I don’t think the council wanted it so it should be removed’

Veronica Guasti and Gabriela Nica (pictured) who work close to the statue added: 'We like it and we will be very sad if it goes - maybe they could take the bear away instead

Veronica Guasti and Gabriela Nica (pictured) who work close to the statue added: ‘We like it and we will be very sad if it goes – maybe they could take the bear away instead

They added: 'They have the giraffes around the city so this one should stay.' Pictured: The nearby bear

They added: ‘They have the giraffes around the city so this one should stay.’ Pictured: The nearby bear

'We have seen it in its various reincarnations up and down the road, it's such a load of rubbish,' another resident called Lydia (pictured) added. 'It's ludicrous and insulting - it has nothing to do with Prince Philip

‘We have seen it in its various reincarnations up and down the road, it’s such a load of rubbish,’ another resident called Lydia (pictured) added. ‘It’s ludicrous and insulting – it has nothing to do with Prince Philip

Elizabeth Large (pictured), who wants the statue to stay, added: 'It's art - it does not necessarily need to look human or like a person'

Elizabeth Large (pictured), who wants the statue to stay, added: ‘It’s art – it does not necessarily need to look human or like a person’

Public art officer Nadine Black said it was ‘possibly the poorest quality work that has ever been submitted to the council.’

She added: ‘It is not site-specific and is a work already purchased and has no relationship to this site. It is too large a scale for the context of the space it will be located within and will compromise the quality of the new development.’

The statue was originally attributed to Uruguayan sculptor Pablo Atchugarry, but he later disowned the piece.

The internationally renowned sculpture, whose pieces have been sold at Christies and Sotheby’s in London, New York, Paris and Amsterdam, said the claims it was his work was ‘an abuse.’

He said in 2014: ‘I am not the author of this sculpture, and it is an abuse that they had used my name. I wish somebody would apologise to me for this misunderstanding.’

Bill Gredley, the chairmen of Unex Group who developed the piece, staunchly defended the work in 2014 and described it as a ‘spectacular piece of art.’

Councillor Katie Thornburrow said this week that nobody ‘seems to have a good word to say about it’ and she will ‘be glad to see it gone.’

She told MailOnline: ‘About a year ago it was put in without planning permission, so it does not have the council’s consent. It’s out of scale, it’s too big and in a very prominent position.

‘We have had complaints from residents, the ward’s councillors and parents of children who say it scares them. We have a lot of really interesting modern art in Cambridge but this one does not fit the bill or the standards we need here.

‘It does not matter what the owner says it represents – we think it’s completely out of scale for those in Cambridge, residents do not like it and it scares children, so that’s reason enough.’

While some object to the council’s plans and wish for the statue to remain, others have been calling for its immediate removal.

‘We have seen it in its various reincarnations up and down the road, it’s such a load of rubbish,’ another resident called Lydia added. ‘It’s ludicrous and insulting – it has nothing to do with Prince Philip.

‘We used to go to the ceremonies he would attend and he did not wear anything like that – for starters the stripes were horizontal. It’s such poor quality.

‘It’s hideous and has not got planning permission so that should suffice [as a reason to remove it] but having said that the council has so much else it could be doing.’

Victor Auy who lives on the street added: ‘I do not see the significance of erecting this statue.

‘First of all it was illegal to have it erected in the first place as they did not have planning permission and if they reapplied for it, I don’t think the council wanted it so it should be removed.

The statue was originally attributed to Uruguayan sculptor Pablo Atchugarry, but he later disowned the piece

The statue was originally attributed to Uruguayan sculptor Pablo Atchugarry, but he later disowned the piece

The internationally renowned sculpture, whose pieces have been sold at Christies and Sotheby's in London, New York, Paris and Amsterdam, said the claims it was his work was 'an abuse'

The internationally renowned sculpture, whose pieces have been sold at Christies and Sotheby’s in London, New York, Paris and Amsterdam, said the claims it was his work was ‘an abuse’

Residents said that it was not the fact it was a statue of Prince Philip that upset them but the quality of the artwork

Residents said that it was not the fact it was a statue of Prince Philip that upset them but the quality of the artwork

‘It’s not a stunning structure for me and I do not like the reputation of the late Prince Philip. If they want it gone I have no objection but the importance of him being awarded the statue is politics for me.’

Elizabeth Large, who wants the statue to stay, added: ‘It’s art – it does not necessarily need to look human or like a person.’

The statue’s loudest critics, however, are those who live on Norwich Street – a quiet road filled with picturesque maisonettes where the average house sold for the overall average price of £702,750 last year.

Residents said that it was not the fact it was a statue of Prince Philip that upset them but the quality of the artwork.

Lindsey Stemp, who has lived on the street for 40 years said: ‘I think it’s absolutely disgraceful that this chap is just allowed to dump a piece of art without permission from anybody, without consulting us and dump it out of sheer arrogance.

An enforcement notice issued by the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service (GCSP) on March 5, said it appeared the sculpture had been erected within the last four years without planning permission.

The enforcement notice said it has a ‘harmful material impact’ on the appearance of the area and that it was contrary to policies in the Cambridge Local Plan.

It said the sculpture must be permanently removed along with its foundations and plinth within four months from April 11, unless an appeal is made beforehand.

The land must also be restored to its former condition prior to the sculpture’s installation.

A spokesman for Unex group told MailOnline previously: ‘Mr Gredley and others consider it is a rather spectacular bronze with a difference, namely the head and shape as cast together with the bronze being coloured black to resemble the academic clothing and mortarboard.

‘Mr Gredley appreciates that art is subjective and therefore has no issue with those who do not like The Don.’

When asked if the council were considering taking down other statues in the area, such as the nearby bear statue a few metres from Prince Phillip’s statue, the Councillor Thornburrow added: ‘There are quite a few large statues appearing without planning consent, so enforcement officers have opened files on these.

‘But this one is the most prominent and inappropriate, so we are tackling this one first.’

MailOnline has contacted Cambridge City Council and the Unex group for further comment.



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