Town’s fury after historic Maypole is chopped down

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Councillors are calling for their town’s historic Maypole to be replaced after it was cut down.

Leeds City Council chiefs discovered the Otley Maypole, which is believed to be the highest permanent one in Britain, was rotting during a risk assessment ahead of the Tour de France.

Councillors are calling for the pole, which had stood in Manchester Square, to be replaced.

Councillor Colin Campbell (Lib Dem, Otley and Yeadon) said:“I am very concerned that Otley’s iconic maypole has been removed. It was the largest permanent Maypole in Yorkshire, if not the world and Manchester Square looks empty without it.

“I understand the decision to cut it down but I feel there could have been more public discussion as a number of residents have been quite upset about its loss.”

Councillor Ryk Downes (Lib Dem, Otley and Yeadon) added:“To bring the Maypole down was the right call; we never want a repeat of the tragic accident where a small child was injured when a flagpole came down last year.

“However, to do it in this way, with no consultation or planning is a disgrace.

“What would have been a tourist attraction, helping put Otley on the map and in the minds of tourists from around the world at the Grand Depart is now nothing more than a shaved stump.”

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive board member for cleaner, safer, stronger communities, added: “Extensive decay was detected at the base of the Maypole and that posed a serious risk to members of the public in what is a busy area of Otley.

“It was simply not acceptable to put the public at risk by delaying action to deal with that situation. It was unfortunate that this had to be treated as an emergency but the risks of not doing so far outweighed the alternative.”

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