Pointed tail delays fish statue

The completed tunny fish sculpture, which is now ready to be installed in Scarborough Harbour.
The completed tunny fish sculpture, which is now ready to be installed in Scarborough Harbour.
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Plans to install a giant tunny fish statue in Scarborough have been delayed amid health and safety fears that its tail is “too pointy”, according to the philanthropist who bought it.

Ray Lonsdale’s sculpture, which measures 7ft from nose to tail, with a 12ft frame, was set to be installed at the harbour earlier this month.

But pensioner Maureen Robinson, who bought the statue as a fourth gift for the town, said she was still waiting for a final date and location.

She said: “It was approved by Scarborough Borough Council in September that it was going to the harbour. Then it was agreed Ray would be installing it in December as a Christmas present to the town.

“Now I have been told that before continuing there will have to be health and safety checks to see if it’s going to be acceptable because it’s got a point on its tail. It’s a tunny fish, do they expect it to have a square tail?

“Originally the council asked Ray to round off the spines on its back, which he did, and now they are saying the tail has a point on it. Why can’t they just put a sign on it saying they are not responsible for any accidents incurred by people sliding down it?”

However, a council spokesman said the authority was working hard to find a suitable harbour location to ensure it is displayed “to best effect” and in a position that is “safely accessible” to the public.

“There is a history of sculptures and statues having to be moved – we are anxious to make sure we get the right site at the first time of asking,” he said.

“We are of course talking with Maureen Robinson and will be consulting with harbour users before a final decision is made. It’s likely that planning consent will also be required.”

Mrs Robinson, who chose the tunny after she remembered seeing the fish on display in Scarborough Harbour in the 1940s, said she was considering installing the finished sculpture in her front garden until a date was set.

Meanwhile, the iconic Freddie Gilroy statue, which was also purchased by Mrs Robinson, is set to remain in the North Bay.

A space in front of the 
Rotunda Museum had previously been earmarked for the giant sculpture amid fears it is being corroded by the sea.

But the council has now ruled out this option and has pledged to keep it in its current location.

The spokesman added: “In terms of the Freddie Gilroy and the Belsen Stragglers sculpture kindly bequeathed by Mrs Robinson, it is disappointing that the structure has not been as resistant to the marine environment as predicted and is visibly corroding. It is, however, clear that the current North Bay location is very accessible and proving extremely popular, with the sculpture becoming a much-loved Scarborough landmark.

“We are currently seeking technical advice regarding the potential to protect the sculpture in its present location and if that proves impossible to achieve, we’ll look for another North Bay location which will not be subject to overtopping by the sea.”