06:45 26 January 2022
Plans to rejuvenate North Walsham town center have raised fears about the fate of a much-loved hare sculpture.
The work, named Lepus, sat on a pedestal on the approach to the church, between Shambles cafe and the Hop Innsince the GoGoHares trail in the summer of 2018.
In a few weeks, however, it will be taken away for safekeeping while work is carried out on the approach to the church. as part of the North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) High Street Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) project.
The project will see a series of changes, including a more pedestrian-friendly town center and a new landscaped public space at Shambles.
And although the council said they were enthusiastic, the hare remains a “important characteristic” in the citysome locals have expressed concerns about his possible relocation.
Mike Whistler, 63, said: “He should stay where he is. He’s been here a long time.
“It would be a shame if he was moved. He welcomes people who come into the city. He started his life here, so he should stay here.”
Des Johnson, a taxi driver, said he enjoyed watching the hare as he sat in his car at the nearby taxi rank waiting for a fare.
Ann Lamb, 63, and Diane Andrews, 64, also thought he should stay where he is.
Graham Cann, 86, said: “It looks quite nice. He’s quite happy to be sitting there. I don’t see anything wrong with that. I’ve gotten used to him, every time I come to the Street corner.”
John Caton, 47, said: ‘Good for people driving around town to have a view of the hare and the church in the background.
VSatherine Wedge-Clarke, communications and engagement manager for the city’s HAZ project, said, “We’re thrilled to hear that the inhabitants are very passionate about hare and we welcome all of their views.
“So the board is very keen to make sure that it remains an important feature.
“Once the work is completed, we intend to integrate the NNDC hare into the new area,” she added.
Lepus is a mosaic by artist Anne Schwegmann-Fielding, using white, silver, and gold tableware, mirror circles, and bus shelter glass.
The town hall asks residents to check www.haznorthwalsham.com and the @haznorthwalsham Facebook page for updates.