Wiltshire Publications

“Foal play” as Westbury hits the headlines

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 17th, 2018 at 10:50 am.

PATRIOTIC pride was high on the hills of Westbury last week as a make-shift England flag was created using red plastic on top of the White Horse, making national newspaper headlines. However, residents were disappointed when English Heritage asked for Westbury Town Council to remove the ‘flag’ over fears of damage to the landmark.
Westbury Town Council and English Heritage have been branded as ‘spoilsports’ by residents of Westbury on social media as the red plastic tape was removed from the landmark. People welcomed the sporting patriotism mounted on the horse, in preparation for England’s match against Croatia in the World Cup semi-final – only the second time that the England team has come so close since 1990.
Hellen Evans, who was on the scene when the Council were taking down the flag, told White Horse News “When they cut it down no one could believe it. A few booed as they did it. They could’ve left it up for a few more days and then removed it. Some have joked it was their fault we lost to Croatia, they jinxed the team.”
Claire Adams commented on Spotted Westbury, “As much as it’s totally understandable that you [Westbury Town Council] are doing what was asked and totally appreciate you need to have a good relationship with English Heritage, you can see how many people believe that it could have been left a little longer. Absolutely no harm was or would’ve been done.
“It’s done English Heritage and the Town Council no favours and it’s probably invited more bad publicity (instead of good) than could ever have been imagined by the person who did it.”
Ian Cunningham responding personally, not on behalf of the town council said, “I think it was very amusing and makes a great photo but… from English Heritage’s point of view it’s a slippery slope (pun intended!)
“If they once “allow” one thing as a “special” (or turn a blind eye to it after they received notification that it is there), what happens when a sign saying “Vote for…” or “Eat at Joes” appears? – how do they defend allowing one and not the other? There may be people who feel that Joe’s café is more important to them than the World Cup.
“If I worked for any of the agencies that manage these sites I’d just go with the even-handed (if boring) ‘It’s not allowed’.
“Westbury Town Council has been working closely with English Heritage for a plan to look after our horse more regularly – we had a long meeting with them about this; we want to stay on good terms.
“The last time someone put something on the horse (and that was political – another breach of the law) it was also removed quickly for exactly the same reasons. The flag wasn’t the basis of the objection.”
Not all residents were against English Heritage’s decision. Daniel Wilson commented, “At the end of the day it’s still a form of vandalism. Yeah, they were only pinned in place, but it still altered an English Heritage site.
“It’s ridiculous how supporters think ‘We’re winning, this means we can do what we want.’ No mate, no it doesn’t.”

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