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Range store advert on statue of George Leeman , North Eastern Railways, sparks anger

 

Range store advert on statue of George Leeman sparks anger


A SUPERSTORE in York has been accused of disrespecting the city’s heritage after hanging an advert on the statue of railway pioneer and former MP George Leeman.

The famous statue, which has looked out over Station Road since 1885, was targeted on Friday morning, when an advertisement for Huntington-based home store The Range was hung around it.

The move drew a furious response from the leader of City of York Council, James Alexander, who has said the store must pay £100 to cover the cost of removing the illegal hoarding, or else face possible prosecution.

He said: “This company has shown a total disregard and lack of respect for York’s history and heritage. As soon as I was informed of the sign I asked council staff to remove it.

“They did so promptly. The council will be billing the company for the removal of the sign and if they do not pay, I will be instructing the council to prosecute.”

Guildhall officials have written to The Range’s head office to complain about the sign, following a telephone conversation in which the council condemned the action in “the strongest possible terms.”

The advertisement was fastened to the statue using a chain around its base.

The store has now apologised to the people of York and said the stunt would not be repeated.

Alice Duxbury, marketing manager, said it was a “fun, tongue- in-cheek piece of activity.”

She said: “We did not mean to cause any offence to the residents of York, and have not damaged public property.

“We sincerely apologise for any upset caused and will not repeat the activity in York again.”

• George Leeman was born in York in 1809 and played a key role in making York a major railway city.

Originally a solicitor, he eventually became deputy chairman of North Eastern Railways, moving on to become chairman from 1874 to 1880.

Leeman also enjoyed a successful political career, serving as city councillor, holding the post of Lord Mayor three times, and twice serving as the city’s MP.

Leeman Road was named in his honour to coincide with the unveiling of his statue in 1885

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