Last week it was announced that that the iconic Ark sculpture on the roundabout outside Chester Zoo was to be removed. Now the Upton Conservative team have launched an appeal to save the Ark which they described as a “cultural asset” in an attack on the Labour led council.
Previously the council had announced that they were in discussions with Chester Zoo to remove the Ark which has been on the roundabout for many years where the entry road joins the A41. The Ark was originally part of a Council submission at the Tatton Park Flower Show and was then placed outside the zoo for passers-by to enjoy.
The Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport, Councillor Karen Shore said: “Sadly over time, the Ark has become tired and worn, and both the Council and Chester Zoo have agreed that the time has come to remove it.”
Facilities & Development Director at Chester Zoo, Cathy Lunn, said: “For more than a decade the wooden ark has been positioned on the roundabout where the zoo entry road joins the A41. Sadly, over time it has now reached the point where it’s beyond repair.
“In the immediacy, a new planted feature will take its place but eventually we hope to find a suitable, long-term replacement for it – something which is fitting for our role as a world-leading centre for excellence in wildlife conservation and science.”
The planted feature has been identified by the Council as part of its Wildflower and Grasslands Strategy, with feedback from residents favouring pollinator flowers on display increasing biodiversity.
However the Upton Conservative team went on the offensive on Monday night with the launch of the petition demanding that the Ark be saved and restored. The petition reads:
Over many years the much loved Ark has become an iconic part of Upton and Chester. The Ark is not only loved in our community, but by visitors from across the UK as it is the first thing they see when they arrive at Chester Zoo.
Last week, Labour-led Cheshire West and Chester Council announced their intention to remove the Ark, simply because it’s fallen into disrepair.
Understandably residents in Upton and across Chester have told Cllr Jill Houlbrook and Steven Hesketh how shocked and disappointed they were to hear the news. They don’t want to see another cultural asset in Chester fall victim to this Council’s inability to maintain and restore Chester’s landmarks.
Jill, Steven and the rest of your local Conservative team won’t stand by and let this happen.
The launch of the petition, received a mixed response on twitter with debate centring around who was responsible for the removal of the Ark. Cllr Matt Bryan (Labour) stated that removal was a “zoo decision” but Cllr Jill Houlbrook stated that the Ark and roundabout were the responsibility of Cwac.
The petition can be found here :