http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/statues-at-risk-of-being-trashed-if-relocated.18888430

STATUES moved from one of Scotland’s main civic squares to other areas are at risk of being “trashed within days”, according to a leading sculpture expert who claims monuments have already been taken away without the public being informed.

Gary Nisbet, co-author of the book Public Sculpture of Glasgow, said the last century was littered with examples of monuments moved from prominent positions to languish elsewhere.

He also said a public fountain in George Square, known as the Crum Fountain and dating from 1861, had been removed last year without any notification despite having recently been renovated.

The warnings come as councillors whose ward includes the city centre demand to be included in any working group or committee that explores plans for the future of George Square, claiming so far they have been sidelined.

The Herald reported earlier this week how all 12 statues in George Square will be removed in the coming months as part of a £15 million plan to revamp the area by 2014.

Once the statues are restored it is unclear if they will be returned to their original locations, with plans mooted to move them to other parts of the city.

Mr Nisbet, who co-authored his book with Glasgow School of Art research fellow Ray McKenzie, said recent history had seen the Donald Dewar statue in Buchanan Street routinely vandalised, while the Duke of Wellington on Queen Street was in a poor condition, partly due to public misuse.

He pointed to the Prince William of Orange statue, from 1735, which, although recently restored, is hidden away in Cathedral Square, along with explorer David Livingstone, moved from George Square in 1959 to make way for a wooden tourist office.

He added: “I fear claims that the Glasgow public will get the George Square they deserve simply means they’ll get the George Square the city council wants. The Crum Fountain had already been restored to full working order as a drinking fountain but now all that’s left is its footprint.

“The fact it was removed without any kind of announcement really should set alarm bells ringing. The Victorian and Edwardian bases for the lighting, built by the world-renowned Saracen Foundry, have also gone. My big fear is that these monuments are lost forever.

“Or, if they’re moved to, say Bellahouston Park, then who’s going to care for them? They will be trashed within days. And who decides which statues are going to come back? Are we going to have some kind of weird history version of Big Brother?”

Councillor Martin Docherty, of the SNP, said: “The local elected representatives have grave concerns about the lack of consultation so far with other elected members and the local community council. I would hope to see all local members and representatives from the community council to be involved in any working group which is deciding on the restoration of George Square.”

A city council spokesman confirmed the Crum Fountain had indeed been removed but that it was part of its restoration.

The spokesman added: “Since then the plan to redevelop George Square has moved along and the decision is yet to be taken on whether it is being brought back, along with the other statues. Right now it is in good health in the contractor’s yard.”