Chingford News

Council-funded Harry Kane statue locked away in storage for years

Two Chingford councillors have struggled to find a home for the £7.2k statue which they commissioned more than four years ago

By Josh Mellor, Local Democracy Reporter

Inset: Chingford-raised Harry Kane, Credit: Number 10 via Wikimedia Commons

A statue of Chingford-raised Harry Kane has languished in storage for years because councillors can’t find a spot for it.

In 2019 and 2020, two Conservative councillors for Chingford’s Endlebury ward quietly allocated £7,200 in Waltham Forest Council’s “community ward funding” to a new statue of the England captain .

They hoped the statue would be revealed as a surprise celebration of the locally raised star footballer.

But the statue, which reportedly depicts a life-size version of the football star sitting on a bench, is yet to find a home for years.

Councillors Emma Best and Roy Berg, who greenlit the project, recently saw their hopes of installing it on a platform at Chingford station dashed due to Transport for London’s safety concerns.

A TfL spokesperson told the LDRS they were “aware” of a “desire” to install it in the station but rejected the proposal following a safety risk assessment.

They added: “Further work is needed to establish whether an alternative location near to the station could be possible, and we will work with the local community to try and find a solution.”

A previous proposal to place it in Ridgeway Park was scrapped. Following publication of this article, Cllr Best said the council’s previous “director of service” initially supported installing the statue in the park.

However, their successor took over they rejected the location “due to concerns on liability”. Waltham Forest Council refused to comment on Emma Best’s suggestion.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Cllr Best said she has spent “hours and hours” trying to agree a home for the statue with “stakeholders”.

She admitted there has been a “delay”, caused partly by the pandemic, but argued that she has also been trying to find the right time and place to unveil it.

The statue for using the council’s community ward funding, an annual grant of up to £10,000 for “local initiatives, projects or improvements” that councillors in each of the borough’s wards share out.

The funds for the statue came from a pot of about £6,600 allocated to Cllrs Best and Berg’s Endlebury ward every year.

Mayor Roy Berg (Credit: Waltham Forest Council) and Emma Best (Credit: London Assembly)

Local resident Trevor Calver uncovered the existence of the statue after checking how funding for Endlebury ward is being spent.

This story is published by Waltham Forest Echo, Waltham Forest's free monthly newspaper and free news website. We are a not-for-profit publication, published by a small social enterprise. We have no rich backers and rely on the support of our readers. Donate or become a supporter.

He accused Cllrs Berg and Best of paying for the statue “without proper consideration” of what local residents would want to see in their area.

Trevor said: “I’ve been trying to find out where it is and who’s paying for the storage.

“It’s ridiculous, £7,200 up the swanny. It’s a joke – but it’s not funny.”

Trevor has previously criticised Cllr Best and Cllr Berg for funnelling thousands in community ward funding for Endlebury into projects in other parts of Chingford without consultation.

However, Cllr Best played down the criticism, arguing that residents “don’t live their lives by ward boundaries”.

A spokesperson for Harry said: “We are really excited about the statue and although it has been ongoing since 2019, we feel in the coming months is the right time to reveal the statue, especially with Harry being England and Tottenham’s all time top goalscorer. It is what he deserves.

“The location of the statue is really important to us and like Emma said we are having some issues at the moment, but when we get it right, we will be happy to go.”

When the LDRS visited the station, regular users expressed mixed reactions to the statue proposal.

A young woman from Chingford said: “I think if they already paid for it they should show someone successful coming from here and that you don’t have to be from central London.

“I think it’s just a bit inspirational that someone so famous comes from here – like David Beckham.

“But they could have put it up in 2019, I’m not sure why they haven’t done that.”

A second resident said that although Harry is a “local hero”, the council should spend its money on “other things” like supporting homeless people.

A council spokesperson said: “Community ward funding projects are suggested by residents and approved by ward councillors, who lead on communications around ward funding opportunities and the delivery of projects or events that receive funding.

“Each year there is clear guidance on what can and cannot receive community ward funding, depending on the corresponding theme.

“All ward councillors must unanimously approve projects to receive Community Ward Funding. 

“Councillors must follow the guidance provided to them, which is reviewed each year.”

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with comment from Emma Best (21/02)

No news is bad news 

Independent news outlets like ours – reporting for the community without rich backers – are under threat of closure, turning British towns into news deserts. 

The audiences they serve know less, understand less, and can do less. 

If our coverage has helped you understand our community a little bit better, please consider supporting us with a monthly, yearly or one-off donation. 

Choose the news. Don’t lose the news.

Monthly direct debit 

Annual direct debit

£5 per month supporters get a digital copy of each month’s paper before anyone else, £10 per month supporters get a digital copy of each month’s paper before anyone else and a print copy posted to them each month.  £50 annual supporters get a digital copy of each month's paper before anyone else.

Donate now with Pay Pal

More information on supporting us monthly or annually 

More Information about donations