Plan dropped to end cone tradition on Glasgow's Wellington statue

media captionPlans to end a tradition of placing a traffic cone on Glasgow's iconic Duke of Wellington statue are dropped after a public backlash

Plans to end a long-standing tradition of placing a traffic cone on Glasgow's iconic Duke of Wellington statue have been dropped after a massive backlash.

Glasgow City Council wanted to raise the plinth as part of a £65,000 project to refurbish the monument, which stands outside the Gallery of Modern Art.

It abandoned the plan after a massive social media campaign saw thousands of people sign a petition opposing it.

Campaigners who planned a demonstration now say they will hold a victory rally.

The council had said that raising the height would end a practice which projected a "depressing image" of Glasgow and would save the £10,000 cost of removing the cone 100 times a year.

image captionMichael Gray is one of many campaigners who plan to hold a victory rally

The scheme would have seen a new granite-clad concrete base of 86cm (34in) added to the memorial to raise its overall height.

However, the council has reconsidered its decision after an online petition called "Save Wellington's Cone", which gathered thousands of signatories in just a few hours, and a Facebook campaign which had planned a rally in support of the cone.

A council spokesman said: "The wording of the report was appalling and the leader of the council (Gordon Matheson) has instructed officers to withdraw the planning application."

The petition stated: "The cone on Wellington's head is an iconic part of Glasgow's heritage, and means far more to the people of Glasgow and to visitors than Wellington himself ever has.

"Raising the statue will, in any case, only result in people injuring themselves attempting to put the cone on anyway: does anyone really think that a raised plinth will deter drunk Glaswegians?"

The matter was discussed widely on social networking sites.

Writer and comedian Greg Hemphill wrote on his Twitter feed: "Raising the statue is a very sound idea cause if there's one thing every Glaswegian loves it's being told what they can and cannot do."

Adapting a former catchphrase from his Chewin' The Fat show, he added: "Cony No Dae That."

News that the council was likely to abandon its plans was welcomed by cone campaigner Michael Gray.

"There's been very little discussion with the public about the real costs at the heart of this cone proposal," he said.

"I think if you look at the vast sums of money this cone brings in to the Glasgow economy, especially the tourist economy, business and citizens will be happy for the cone to stay."

The Wellington statue was sculpted by Italian artist Carlo Marochetti and erected in 1844.

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