NEARLY 800 people have signed a petition opposing controversial plans to relocate the historic Coventry Cross monument.
The landmark – located near Coventry Cathedral on the corner of Holy Trinity Church – dates back to the 14th Century in previous forms.
The current ‘Coventry Cross’ is a replica designed by celebrated sculptor George Wagstaff in 1976.
As we reported in August, proposals to relocate and restore the sculpture to outside Primark and Greggs sparked anger – and are set to cost the taxpayer £150,000.
Now a petition submitted by heritage group the Coventry Society to the council entitled ‘Save the Coventry Cross’ has attracted 787 signatures.
The petition, which can be viewed on the Coventry City Council website, reads: “I object to Coventry City Council’s plan to demolish the Coventry Cross with no firm plan to rebuild it in a suitable place and with no explanation why public funds should be used to facilitate commercial development on this site.”
It echoes the concerns raised previously by the group and Mr Wagstaff who say the monument belongs in Coventry’s medieval quarter.
The relocation is due to requests made by a retailer to construct an outside seating area and to make way for further expansion of the Cathedral Lanes Shopping Centre.
A planning application has already been withdrawn and the latest was submitted by Shearer Property Group acting on behalf of the retailer last month.
The society raised fresh concerns in September about the budget for the project which only covers the ‘dismantling and cleaning’ of the Cross – and not its restoration.
The council has claimed the cross would be moved to nearer its original position although the Coventry Society contested the credibility of this claim – saying its original position was actually at the front of Primark in Broadgate.
Labour cabinet member for jobs and regeneration Jim O’Boyle has defended the move saying the new location would make the Coventry Cross more visible to visitors and shoppers.