Hundreds sign petition to reinstall 'iconic' bird sculpture at Sunderland Point

More than a thousand people have put their names to an online petition calling on Lancaster City Council to reinstall a recently removed sculpture, which honoured the legacy of a popular local artist.

Friday, 24th September 2021, 3:45 pm
The beautiful sculpture. Picture by Ian Greene

However, council bosses say the "unauthorised" sculpture was erected without planning consent and they are open to suggestions for it to be installed elsewhere.

Ray Schofield , former art teacher at Lancaster and Morecambe College and Ripley High School, was a talented, loving character and was respected by many in Morecambe for his artwork, especially painting, drawing and sculpture.

After his death, the house he was living in at Sunderland Point was sold and purchased by a musician called Brian Holmes. Not long after Brian moved in, he discovered some metal birds that had been cut out by Ray. Brian proceeded to create an amazing sculpture using Ray’s birds and perfectly erected the carefully crafted piece of artwork on land opposite his house. It was there for a number of years admired by locals and visitors alike, not least his proud family.

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However, due to a complaint to Lancaster City Council, that permission was not sought for the erection of the sculpture, Brian has had to pull it down - much to the dismay of local residents, visitors and his loved ones.

The move has upset Ray's family who are now campaigning to reinstall the sculpture. Ray's granddaughter, Millie Schofield launched an online petition 24 hours ago and it has already gained over 1,000 signatures. Millie, who lives in Overton, said: "People are backing this petition because the sculpture has been admired by people for years. It's beautifully positioned and wasn't doing anyone any harm. It's a real shame it's has had to be removed and we, as a family, are very upset.

"My granddad was a talented, loving, generous, funny, eccentric character and was respected by many in this area for his artwork, both painting, drawing and sculpture, often of wildlife. After he died we were all heartbroken, but it was lovely to see a tribute in his memory. I will continue to appeal to people to sign this petition so the sculpture can be reinstalled."

The Schofields have also received the backing of county councillor for Morecambe and Lunesdale, Margaret Pattison, who said: "It's devastating that the council ordered for the sculpture to be removed. We have so many famous sculptures across Morecambe that attract visitors from far and wide so what's wrong with having another one at Sunderland Point?

"Ray Schofield was a well-respected, much-loved and popular artist. This sculpture is a tribute to his legacy and shouldn't have been pulled down. It's been admired by lots of people and I will be speaking to the county council to see what they can to reinstall it."

Responding, a spokesman for Lancaster City Council said: "The property in question is a (nationally) Listed Building. As such, Listed Building consent is therefore required for the sculpture.

"Having received a complaint about the sculpture, the council as planning authority was required to investigate the matter and found the sculpture had been installed without obtaining Listed Building Consent. It was therefore unlawful and constitutes a criminal offence.

"Planning officers met with representatives of those who had installed the sculpture to discuss its removal and the potential for alternative locations for the sculpture away from the listed building.

"No alternative locations have so far been agreed and the sculpture has been removed. Officers remain open to discussion in order to help find possible alternative locations for the sculpture."

Anyone wishing to sign the petition is asked to CLICK HERE