Harry Kane statue stuck in storage after Chingford Station plan rejected

A statue of Chingford-raised Harry Kane has been hidden 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.

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.

Harry Kane Photo: Rob Newell/CameraSport)

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.”

For reasons that remain unclear, Cllrs Berg and Best scrapped a previous proposal to place it in Ridgeway Park.

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 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.

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

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

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.

Mr Calver 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.”

Mr Calver 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.

Cllr Emma Best

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

A spokesperson for Harry Kane 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 Waltham Forest 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.”

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Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter