The Leader of Labour led Exeter City Council is calling for a review into the future of the city’s famous statue of General Buller.
The Local Government Association Labour Group, who provide a national voice for the party in local government, have overwhelming agreement from all Labour led councils that they will listen to and work with their local communities to review the appropriateness of local monuments and statues on public land and council property.
In Exeter this means the party will table a motion calling for a review into the future of the statue at the next council meeting.
Council Leader Phil Bialyk said: “I feel the time is right to carry out a review, taking into account the views of people in our city. Exeter is a diverse community which in the main is at peace with itself. It’s important how we remember and teach future generations about our history.
We will consult on how we do this. But it isn’t my gift or that of my colleagues to make a unilateral decision, it’s one that the whole city must come to terms with. The values and sentiment behind the Black Lives Matter movement are incredibly important to myself and colleagues. We will listen to opinions and use the platforms that we have as politicians, to make sure, that all voices are heard.”
The statue was paid for by money raised by the people of Devon and unveiled on ‘ Buller Day’ in 1905. It is currently situated on land owned by Devon County Council, with the monument itself maintained by the city council.
It was given Grade II listing preservation status in 1953 so any complete or partial removal or relocation would require widespread consultation. It would also require formal planning consent along with permission from Historic England