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Woodbridge’s Drummer Boy set for new home as permission sought for Market Hill site

PUBLISHED: 04:27 20 October 2017

The Drummer Boy statue outside Suffolk Coastal's old building in Woodbridge being removed for restoration.  Left to right, Woodbridge mayor Clare Perkins and restorer Richard Rogers. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The Drummer Boy statue outside Suffolk Coastal's old building in Woodbridge being removed for restoration. Left to right, Woodbridge mayor Clare Perkins and restorer Richard Rogers. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A much-loved statue could be back on public view soon after an application was submitted for a new display site.

The Drummer Boy statue outside the former Suffolk Coastal District Council offices in Woodbridge The Drummer Boy statue outside the former Suffolk Coastal District Council offices in Woodbridge

The Drummer Boy left its post for the first time in three decades of guarding the former headquarters of Suffolk Coastal District Council, in Woodbridge, in August.

It is currently undergoing restoration and could be back on show next year but with a new home.

Woodbridge Town Council has submitted a planning application to site the statue – officially known as ‘The Drums of the Fore and Aft’ and based on characters in a Rudyard Kipling story of the same name – next to the Shire Hall on Market Hill.

In a document accompanying its plans, the council says it does not believe the statue, which will stand around seven metres from the hall, will affect the setting of the grade one listed building.

The only work needed will be the removal of a small area of cobbles to make way for the Drummer Boy’s plinth.

The council said: “Notably, the proposed siting has involved public consultation within the town by the applicants, with the siting now proposed resulting directly from this consultation by the town council.

“A referendum held by the town council resulted in the largest proportion of respondents (approximately 46%) voting for the statue to be re-sited in the location now proposed.”

Suffolk Coastal will decide whether the new location is suitable.

The district council originally decided two years ago to move the statue to its new headquarters at Riduna Park, Melton, but the decision provoked an outcry, leading to a string of disagreements over ownership and rightful whereabouts.

After much debate, the town council was granted custody of the statue and started to plan for its new home.

However, the town council then withdrew its application for the move after developers of the vacant Melton Hill offices revealed a survey of people attending a planning workshop suggested it should stay.

In a final twist, Active Urban Property Group then revealed the statue was no longer prominent in its plans – but offered to match-fund Suffolk Coastal’s offer of a £10,000 relocation grant or move the Drummer Boy to another location on the site.

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