Chingford News

TfL rejected Harry Kane statue because it would ‘distract train drivers’

A plan to put the statue in Chingford Station was shelved amid fears that train drivers could be distracted by people posing for photographs on or next to it, reports Marco Marcelline

Main image credit: Big Issue/Waltham Forest Council/Sculpture Machine Ltd

Transport for London (TfL) slapped down plans to put a statue of Harry Kane in Chingford Station because of concerns that it would distract train drivers.

The council-commissioned statue, which has languished in storage for years, would have been placed behind the buffer stops at the end of the terminal platforms.

According to a Freedom of Information request sent to TfL and shared with the Echo, Arriva and TfL bosses blocked the statue on the basis that train drivers could be distracted by people posing for photographs on or next to it, or hanging items such as scarfs on it.

Tentative discussions between TfL and Overground operators Arriva Rail London on where to place the statue happened in January this year.

A TfL spokesperson added that a further proposal was made to relocate the statue off station premises which negated the need for a “formal safety validation workstream”.

The Ridgeway Park – the Bayern Munich player was an alumnus of the local youth team Ridgeway Rovers – was also considered as a spot to place the statue but this was ultimately shelved too.

In March, The Big Issue revealed photos of the statue, which received a largely negative reaction on social media.  

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In 2019 and 2020, Endlebury ward councillors Emma Best and Roy Berg allocated £7,200 from Waltham Forest Council’s ‘community ward funding’ pot to the statue of the England captain. 

Speaking previously to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS), Cllr Best partly attributed the delay in its unveiling to the pandemic but argued that she has spent “hours and hours” trying to find the right time and place for its reveal.

The statue was funded through Waltham Forest 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.

Waltham Forest Council leader Grace Williams said: “Waltham Forest Council designed ward funding to be used by ward councillors to support residents’ local priorities. In 2019, Conservative Endlebury Councillors decided to use over £7,000 – 70% per cent of their ward funding – on a statue of Harry Kane with no plan for where it would go and no quality control. Residents have rightly been asking questions about this.

“During the cost-of-living crisis, Waltham Forest Labour Councillors have used this vital money to support community groups who serve residents right across the borough –  including the Community Food Share in Cathall, Growing with the community project in Hale End and Highams Park South, Pastures Community Garden in Leytonstone and Coppermill Swifts Girls’ Football in St. James.”

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