Flint Castle 'Iron Ring' sculpture rethink is the 'right decision' says Delyn AM Hannah Blethyn

Reporter:

David Humphreys

The Welsh Government was “right to listen and act” on opposition to a controversial Iron Ring sculpture at Flint Castle.

However, Delyn AM Hannah Blethyn welcomed the commitment to invest in tourism in the area by the Welsh Government and Cadw.

Ms Blythyn wrote to Ken Skates, cabinet secretary for the economy and infrastructure, saying that Senedd bosses made the correct decision to pause and review the Iron Ring plan at Flint Castle.

More than 10,000 people have signed an online petition calling for plans for the 30ft-high structure to be scrapped altogether.

Mr Skates confirmed on Wednesday that after the strong feedback from residents and community leaders, the proposals would be put to one side “for now”.

Ms Blythyn welcomed the decision by the AM for Clwyd South.

She wrote: “It is right that the Welsh Government has listened and acted. Since my election last year, I have been calling for greater investment in North East Wales.

“I welcome Cadw and the Welsh Government’s commitment to investing and growing the tourism offer of Flint Castle.

“I am particularly pleased with plans for a visitor centre that combines and works with other community assets and organisations.

“This investment in the town of Flint is much welcomed, and indeed, well warranted. Flint Castle – ‘Shakespeare’s Castle’ – is key to our visitor economy in North East Wales, and is an essential part of the town’s history and fabric.”

Opponents to the proposed ring sculpture said it was “extremely disrespectful to the people of Wales and our ancestors who have battled oppression, subjugation and injustice for hundreds of years.”

Petitioners launched their bid for it to be scrapped as “we are well aware of the historical significance of Edward I and his so called Iron Ring as a use to subjugate and oppress our people.”

Reflecting on Mr Skates’ decision, Ms Blythyn added that she would be “continuing to work tirelessly to ensure that the voices of my constituents in Flint are heard on this matter.”

She said: “The views of people in Flint must take priority when it comes to any future decisions and it is absolutely paramount that Flint Castle does not miss out on investment as a consequence of the review. I trust the points raised in this correspondence will be afforded the respect and prominence they deserve.”

Visitors to the castle have also given their views.

Arthur King is totally against the proposed art installation.

“Nearly £400,000 for what... a rusty ring!

“They must have more money than sense and what is this going to do for Wales?

“What they did at the Point of Ayr with the colliery wheel was great and that didn’t cost a lot of money.

“Are people really going to come to Flint to see a lump of rust.”

Vicky Garrett lives in Flint and is all for the new art installation.

She said: “I haven’t seen any pictures of it but it sounds fabulous.

“I don’t think it’s disrespectful because those things happened so long ago and I’m pleased that they are doing something that will be great for tourism.”

Soldier and artist Brian Powell believes the ring of steel is a waste of money.

“I do think it’s an insult and I don’t think it’s been properly thought out.

“They should come up with a better idea than an iron ring.”

Beverley Whittingham lives in Bury and went to Flint Castle while visiting a friend in the area: “I couldn’t think of a better place to read my book called The Death of Kings.

“I’m a bit of a history geek and this is a beautiful spot with gorgeous views.

“As long as they are sympathetic to the area then it will certainly attract more tourists.”

Email:

david.humphreys@nwn.co.uk

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