THE neglected state of a lasting monument to Ashbourne's proud Shrovetide heritage has led to calls from the public to move it to the town centre.
The suggestion by News Telegraph readers to move the striking Hug sculpture from its over-grown plot off Mayfield Road to Civic Square has already found favour with some of Ashbourne's decision makers.
County Council bosses have already announced plans to introduce an artistic Shrovetide feature in the newly laid-out pedestrian area next to the forthcoming Library and Information Centre, but it is now suggested that the sculpture becomes an eye-catching centrepiece at the district council-owned site. Property developer Peter Gadsby, whose firm Cedar House Investments paid for the sculpture and owns the site, said he would be "more than happy" for the sculpture, which was designed by Ashbourne artist Neil Hawksworth, to be moved if it was the wish of the community.
On reflection, he said, it may well make it more accessible and could be made more of a feature of the town centre.
Ashbourne Royal Shrovetide Football Committee secretary Mick Betteridge has also said he feels it is a "good idea".
As part of Ashbourne's litter-busting initiative LETS-LAST Mr Betteridge calls in periodically to clear litter from the site but admits that, in its current state, the sculpture -which is becoming covered in green algae - is a poor reflection on the committee and the town itself.
He said: "Personally, I would welcome the idea to move the sculpture. It's in a bit of a hollow at the moment and it's not being maintained so soon it will be so over-grown nobody will be able to see it."
Derbyshire County Council leader Andrew Lewer, who announced the plans to revamp Civic Square, said: "The suggestions that have been put forward to move the hug monument are certainly interesting. "The County Council is happy to talk about them in conjunction with our Derbyshire Dales District Council partners.” Questions still remain over who could fund the moving and subsequent up-keep of the sculpture, which was installed four years ago at the cost of £150,000.
*WHAT do you think? Should the Hug be moved to Civic Square? Or is it better off where it is. Write to us or email us with your views.