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Richard III statue moving to a site close to cathedral


Plans to relocate a statue of Richard III to a plinth next to Cathedral Gardens are due to be revealed today.

The statue is to be moved from Castle Gardens to the space outside Leicester Cathedral – facing the proposed £4 million King Richard III visitor centre, which is due to be completed by March.

Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby had asked members of the public whether they would like the statue moved to a more prominent position.

"Cathedral Gardens will be an ideal location for the city's Richard III statue," Sir Peter said.

"Its current site in Castle Gardens is also fitting, but the discovery of King Richard's remains changed everything.

"Relocating the monument to the cathedral is entirely appropriate."

The statue will be situated on a new plinth a few paces from both Richard III's original resting place and his new tomb at the cathedral.

It will stand a few metres outside the boundary of the Cathedral Gardens site, as consent from the Cathedral Fabric Commission of England would be needed for it to be placed within the grounds.

The relocation will cost about £3,000.

"It is close to the dig site and to the new visitor centre," Sir Peter said.

"Perhaps more importantly, it will stand close to where the king's body will be laid to rest."

The decision was welcomed by the Richard III Society, which donated the statue to Leicester in 1980.

Philippa Langley, who launched the society's search for the king's remains in 2007, said: "This is a wonderful statue that deserves to be shared with as many people as possible.

"Moving the monument closer to the new visitor centre, the dig site and King Richard's final resting place at the cathedral is a great idea.

"I am sure it will mean many thousands more people see and appreciate it."

Cathedral Gardens, proposed by the diocese, includes lawns, seating for up to 800 people, flowers and a water feature.

The scheme will cost about £2 million.

The Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Tim Stevens, said: "The statue of Richard lll will enhance the space around the cathedral as it becomes a major focus for visitors and the key point in our city for telling this remarkable story of our Leicester history."

The Very Rev David Monteith, Dean of Leicester, said: "We are delighted that this statue will grace our precincts as visitors come to the cathedral where King Richard III will be buried."

The city council has estimated the King Richard III visitor centre is likely to attract 100,000 visitors and bring in more than £4.5 million to the city's economy in its first year alone.

The exhibition will be called King Richard III: Dynasty, Death and Discovery and will guide visitors through the dramatic story of the king's life, brutal death at Bosworth Field in 1485 and the fascinating story of his rediscovery.

Richard III statue moving to a site close to cathedral

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