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Margaret Thatcher’s home town bids for statue

A sculpture rejected for Parliament Square could find a home in Grantham.

A Margaret Thatcher statue rejected for Parliament Square could be erected in her home town.

Officials in Lincolnshire are developing proposals which could secure a place for the bronze sculpture of the UK’s first female prime minister.

The Public Memorials Appeal has offered the 10.5-foot (3.2-metre) statue to Grantham after failing to secure permission for it to be erected in Parliament Square looking towards the Palace of Westminster.

Mrs Thatcher’s divisive legacy had prompted police fears of potential vandalism and civil disorder if it was placed in the capital near Parliament.

Westminster City Council advised in January this year that a “more appropriate design and evidence of support from the Thatcher family may be considered more favourably”, amid reports Mrs Thatcher’s daughter Carol was unhappy with its lack of a trademark handbag.

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Sculptor Douglas Jennings working on his statue of Margaret Thatcher when it was first considered for Parliament Square (Douglas Jennings)

Grantham Community Heritage Association (GCHA), which runs the Grantham Museum, and South Kesteven District Council (SKDC) are working with the Public Memorials Appeal to draft outline terms of an agreement.

Formal proposals are expected to be submitted to the council before the end of the year, allowing councillors to consider the application.

The statue, by Douglas Jennings, was funded by private cash and reported to cost £300,000.

It is placed on a 10.5ft plinth – bringing its total height to 21ft (6.4m).

Mrs Thatcher, latterly Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven, grew up in the Lincolnshire town and was the daughter of a grocer.

An SKDC spokeswoman said: “We understand from reports that there has been some debate about whether the statue should have represented Lady Thatcher in her years as Prime Minister and even whether she should have had a handbag.

“There is no debate, however, about the likeness or the sheer quality of the statue.

“We have not heard this officially from the family. If the statue does come to Grantham, we would, of course, be inviting representatives from the family to join us at its unveiling.”

A Public Memorials Appeal spokesman said: “We are delighted to offer the statue to Grantham on behalf of the people that have donated towards its creation, both here in Grantham and via the Public Memorials Appeal.

“It is a stunning statue and I think it would be absolutely fitting for it to come to Grantham. I very much hope we can make it happen.”

Grantham’s bid for the statue follows a previous campaign for the Iron Lady to be honoured in her home town, which included designs of her holding her famous handbag.

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