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Statue of slave owner Thomas Picton still in Cardiff City Hall a year after removal vote

A statue of slave owner Thomas Picton is still in City Hall in Cardiff more than a year after the council voted to remove it.

Cardiff council voted to remove the Picton statue in July last year, in response to the Black Lives Matter movement and a month after a similar statue was toppled in Bristol.

Sir Thomas Picton was celebrated as a Welsh war hero and was the highest ranking officer to die at the Battle of Waterloo, but awareness grew recently of his role in the slave trade.

Councillors last summer said the statue was an “affront” to black people in Cardiff and was “no longer acceptable” to keep in City Hall. However the statue remains there today.

After the vote last year, carpenters put a wooden box around the statue. But as City Hall is a listed building, consent was needed from the Welsh Government before it could be removed.

Cardiff council said it received consent in March this year. Before any works can take place, a method statement is needed and a marble conservator needs to survey the condition of the statue. The council has also found a firm to carry out the removal works.

The part of City Hall containing the statue has been closed to the public since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

A Cardiff council spokesperson said: “Listed building consent for removal of the Picton statue, including an assessment from Cadw, was received from the planning directorate of the Welsh Government on March 15 this year.

“This approval was subject to several conditions including that prior to the commencement of any works a method statement and a condition survey was to be undertaken by a marble conservator, and that this had to be submitted to and approved in writing by Welsh Government.

“The council has identified a suitable firm and a quote has been supplied for the statement preparation and removal works. The firm is preparing the statement for Welsh Minister approval. Once this is received, the work to remove the statue can begin.”

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