Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting MG NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Idea to light up buzzards sparks a heated debate
MALVERN’S iconic buzzards will soar day and night after a decision to illuminate them with floodlights.
Members of Malvern Town Council have voted to light up the statue, in Rosebank Gardens, between dusk and midnight every evening using energy-efficient LED lighting.
The proposal to light up the £17,500 sculpture sparked heated debate at the council.
Some councillors hailed the statue as a real asset for the town and said everything possible should be done to show it off.
But others voiced concerns over the cost of providing and maintaining an electricity supply, the principle of adding more lighting at a time when Worcestershire County Council is considering switching street lights off overnight and even fears the illuminated statue might be a distraction for passing drivers.
Coun Mike Charles said he was concerned at spending more on Rosebank Gardens when the council had already invested significantly to take it over from Malvern Hills District Council.
And Coun Jeremy Thomas added he could not see “any valid reason” for lighting the statue, saying the concept went against “all the latest ideas on saving energy”.
However Coun Hannah Campbell, who proposed the motion to light the statue, said the requests to light the statue had come from residents themselves.
She pointed out Malvern attracts large theatre crowds in the evenings and that they should be doing everything possible to promote the statue, which “is now a main attraction for the town”.
“The costs with the right technology will be minimal and the benefits to the town will be great,” she added.
Coun Peter Smith described the objections to lighting the statue as “extraordinary pedantry and against the majority of public opinion”, while Coun Adrian Ward described the buzzards as “one of the most successful things the council has ever achieved”.
He added: “The letters coming in are saying ‘light it’ and I don’t think there is any doubt it would look spectacular.”
Councillors ultimately voted 9- 6 in favour of lighting the statue.
This is expected to cost about £1,500. Meanwhile a bronze plaque, mounted on a stone plinth, will be installed by the buzzard statue.
This is to mark an upcoming visit by the Duke of Gloucester on Tuesday, March 12, to formally unveil the buzzards.