A campaigning councillor has called for action to return the choir of angels along Southport’s Lord Street shopping area.
Cllr David Barton says the cherubs were an internal part of the street in Victorian and Edwardian times but the cost of repairing and replacing those that have been lost or vandalised was preventing shop owners from bring the street back to former glories.
Cllr Barton, who represents Dukes Ward, has called on Sefton Council to allow replicas to be used to reduce the cost of bringing back the angels, which have an intricate lighting system contained within the torch flame.”
He said: “This unique outfitting of the exterior frontage to the shops was part of the original retailers’ ambitions to further impress customers, enticing people to frequent and patronise their units during the Victorian and Edwardian times.
“Due to the high cost associated with replacing badly vandalised statues that were beyond repair I have requested the Sefton Council conservation department to look into if there is any scope to permit like-for like replicas though with a metal alloy to provide longer durability and greater uptake by property owners across the high street.
“Under strict Conservation zone parameters replicas are currently not allowed to utilise a metal alloy of stronger more resistant metal, I am requesting that Sefton Council reconsider this decision as part of the Lord Street Consultation and to allow the retailers in 21st Century Southport to be able to enjoy the same retail success enjoyed by their predecessors.”
Cllr Barton said he had originally been contacted by a local constituent back in Summer 2015 following a spate of vandalism which had led to the arm of one of the statues becoming detached, he has since however requested this be reinstated at the soonest opportunity.
He said: “The benefits of returning another piece of Southport’s civic heritage are many. Besides encouraging high quality investor potential in a distinctive set of shopping premises, this would also encourage other incumbent property owners to maintain their properties well all year round, again supporting the retail economy through a welcome well-kept environment.
“Having noted some of the unique ways in which the Victorians would encourage visitors and local residents alike to purchases wares and goods from the shops I would advocate the Council provides the local business community a means of achieving similar success again by making the most of our prized unique selling point- our Victoriana, which in this case has been disappearing.
“It should be observed that this prime retail location which is highly visible from the main carriageway into and out of Southport is a key showcase of the Classic Resort town and should therefore be treated as such if the remaining vacant units are to be reoccupied with high quality unique shops and boutiques such as those seen at other prominent seaside towns.”