A RISE in the number of people signing a petition against the controversial ‘Iron Ring’ has been recorded despite plans the being paused.

When hotly disputed plans for the Iron Ring sculpture at Flint Castle were officially put on hold last month, the number of people who had signed the online petition opposing the Welsh Government proposed installation stood at 9,000.

Since then, another almost 2,000 signatories have been lodged stating their displeasure at the plans.

Many felt that the £395,000 ‘ring’ represented a symbol of Welsh oppression dating back to the Middle Ages when Edward I conquered Wales between 1277 and 1283, leading to the subjugation of Welsh people.

Flintshire Council confirmed it had not been consulted about the project before it was announced by the Welsh Government’s economy secretary Ken Skates.

The plans have since been ‘paused’ while consultation about the sculpture takes place with the Flint community.

Speaking to the Leader Mr Skates said: “Art is often controversial.

“However, it is important for further engagement work to be carried out with the community.

“I’m very keen to enhance the economic prospects of Flint and by using the castle as a primary hook for the visitor economy is a clear objective.”

He added: “We have listened and recognise the strength of feeling around the proposed art installation at Flint Castle and feel it is only right that we now take a pause and review the plans for the sculpture.”

The move to pause and review the scheme was welcomed in some quarters with Delyn AM Hannah Blythyn saying it was the right thing to do while the commitment to invest in tourism in the area by the Welsh Government and Cadw was welcomed.

Cllr Vicky Perfect, castle key keeper, said she felt the name of the sculpture had led to people misinterpreting the meaning of the work.

She said: “It is tied in with Richard II being deposed by Henry IV – it is to mark that event really.

“Shakespeare wrote a play about it and it is based at Flint Castle.

“They are trying their hardest to promote the castle and it is unfortunate there has been all of this hubbub about it.”

Dave Healey, an historian and Flintshire county councillor for Caergwrle, said while he was supportive of Welsh Government funding, he understood the backlash and wants the plan dropped.

He previously said: “I’m opposed to the ring but I fully support the Welsh Government and what it does.

“It has done tremendous things for Wales and the economy and their work is very laudable.

“But it has to drop the idea of this ring. It has caused great offence.”