Council under fire for spending £20,000 on wicker corgis for jubilee

Corgi

One of seven wicker corgi sculptures installed across Broadland district to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee - Credit: Broadland District Council

A Norfolk council has come under fire for spending more than £20,000 on seven wicker corgi statues, as part of its Platinum Jubilee Celebrations. 

The sculptures were commissioned by Broadland District Council earlier this year, and installed at Reedham, Thorpe St Andrew, Old Catton, Whitwell and Reepham Railway Station, Blickling Hall, Coltishall and at the Walled Garden in Little Plumstead.

At a meeting on Thursday (July 28) Liberal Democrat councillor Caroline Karimi-Ghovanlou asked how much they had cost the authority.

Caroline Karimi-Ghovanlou, newly elected Liberal Democrat councillor for Taverham North on Broadland

Broadland councillor Caroline Karimi-Ghovanlou - Credit: Archant

The council's Conservative deputy leader Trudy Mancini-Boyle revealed the bill for the corgis’ design, build and location as £20,631.41, adding that the authority had chosen to use local artists, rather than ordering them from China. 

She said that when the corgis are removed - likely at the end of September - the council is looking at whether to auction the statues, for which there had been “quite a lot of interest” already. 

The authority would then decide whether to donate the proceeds to charity or to put it back into their own reserves. 

Even if the corgis stayed in place, she said that local businesses had reported increased footfall as a result of people coming to see them. 

Asked for the cost of a ‘prestigious party in the park’ held at Blickling Hall as part of the jubilee celebrations, Ms Mancini-Boyle said it had come to £11,635.80.

She stressed that a large projection screen had been required to be in place for the whole weekend, and that the council were able to use it on the Friday evening to host a screening of Disney’s Encanto, raising money for Ukrainian refugees. 

Councillor Trudy Mancini-Boyle, Portfolio Holder for Finance at Broadland District Council. Photo: B

Broadland District Council's Conservative deputy leader and cabinet member for finance Trudy Mancini-Boyle - Credit: Archant

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She said 360 people attended out of 697 tickets requested, due to bad weather that day.

Ms Karimi-Ghovanlou followed up: “Do you think that spending £32,000 [the total cost of the corgis and party] on 360 residents, when we have 125,000 residents in Broadland, is a good use of taxpayers money?” 

She said the council could have spent less by simply giving £200 to each of the district’s parish councils, to contribute towards their own jubilee events. 

Ms Mancini-Boyle responded: “As Broadland District Council, we wanted to recognise the Platinum Jubilee, that the likes of will probably never be seen again...

“I am confident that we have done the right thing. You're now assuming that the corgis won't be sold, which would then take the cost down again anyway."