St Albans Samuel Ryder statue bid compromises on location

The proposed site for the Samuel Ryder statue

The proposed site for the Samuel Ryder statue - Credit: Archant

THE Samuel Ryder Foundation has bowed down to public pressure over where to situate a statue that will commemorate the life of one of the city’s most iconic figures.

Originally the foundation had intended to erect a bronze statue of Samuel Ryder in front of the Town Hall maintaining it would be the most prominent position in St Albans.

But after more than 200 market traders expressed concern about the proposed location, the initial planning application has now been withdrawn and replaced with plans to house it between Nationwide and Ladbrokes on St Peter’s Street.

While stallholders welcomed a memorial to golf’s Ryder Cup creator they feared it would interfere with vehicle access on market days and some traders would have to move to another pitch.

Dave Lawrence, who runs food van Tasty Bites, said he was delighted the foundation had gone back to the drawing board and taken their views into consideration.

He said: “I am very pleased as it [the new location] was one of the suggestions that we had made and I said at the time as long as it does not interfere with local businesses it will be a good thing for the town.

“I think it is an ideal place going towards the Arena as it is quite visual and I think the main body of market traders would support it there. I am looking forward to seeing it in all its glory.”

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David Holwell, trustee of the Samuel Ryder Foundation who is funding the project, explained the initial proposal was withdrawn before it went in front of the district council’s planning committee as they felt it was going to be turned down.

He said: “We have chosen that location as a viable alternative but we would have preferred the Town Hall. We have compromised to accommodate everybody.”

In the new plans St Peter’s Street is described as an appropriate location as it is in sight of the Civic Centre where the famous figure, if he was alive today, would have been based as councillor, alderman and Mayor, and a short walk from Seed Hall in Holywell Hill where he set up his seed business.

If planning permission for the statue is granted it will be slightly larger than life size and stand on a base with the inscription ‘I began in St Albans because from my point of view it is the centre of the kingdom’.

Mr Holwell added: “I think it will help to increase tourism and visitors to the city and help people find out about St Albans and what Samuel Ryder did here. We are hopeful that we can have it up for prior to the next Ryder Cup but that depends on getting the amount of money for that project.”