By Nick Gill
Friday, March 18, 2011
A TOWN council has taken delivery of a coat of arms costing almost £10,000 which it says it has no use for.
Letchworth Garden City Council, which is expected to be abolished in the next four years after a campaign by Help Eliminate Letchworth Parish Council (HELP), met earlier this month and discussed Letchworth’s coats of arms after being contacted by the College of Arms and discovering it was ready for collection.
The grant for the coat of arms, which was purchased for £9,975 under the previous administration, was completed in May 2010 but has not been collected.
Valerie Mantle, chairman of Letchworth Garden City Council, said: “What they were going to do with it I don’t quite know. It’s a bit of a mystery.
“We can’t find a lot of information on it but that doesn’t surprise me.”
Philip Ross, who was chairman of the town council when the coat of arms was bought, said: “The coat of arms was held by the Heritage Foundation and wasn’t one that belonged to the town.
“We had different groups in the town who wanted to have permission to use the coat of arms but the Foundation were saying we couldn’t.
“It’s been paid for and they complain about the cost? They’re not going to get the money back.
“They still employed staff from the council for a whole year after we exited office and the staff knew what was going on but now they’re saying they can’t find the paperwork.
“We need someone to tell us where the money’s gone and now it looks like they’ve lost information on the town crest which isn’t very promising.”
Responding to Mr Ross’ comments, Mrs Mantle added: “It will be interesting to know what organisations wanted one as we’ve already got coats of arms for county council and district council.
“They may have known what’s going on but they certainly didn’t tell anyone on the new council. There was nothing in the minutes to say that the whole council approved the expenditure of the coat of arms. The minutes go right back to the initial enquiry so if it is there we don’t know where it is – it’s a little worrying.
“We haven’t decided on any course of action. When we find the paperwork we can have a discussion on what course of action we’re going to take.
“We could give it to the Heritage museum as we’ve done with the mayor’s chain as a loan for as long as it needs to be.”