A PROJECT to build a statue of Summer Wine icon Compo has hit the rocks again.
A bronze sculpture of the late actor Bill Owen – who played Compo in Last of the Summer Wine – has been on the cards for more than a decade.
But yesterday Mr Owen’s son Tom said he was tired of waiting for Kirklees Council’s heavily delayed project and was going it alone.
Bill Owen died in 1999 but a bid to install a statue of him in Holmfirth has been stalled since it was first mentioned in 2000.
Last December the council said its plans to make the statue the centrepiece of a £200k Heritage Gardens project were back on track.
But two months on Tom Owen said he could not wait any longer and would organise his own tribute – possibly at the Old Bridge Hotel or Sid’s Cafe.
He said: “Anger is not the word, it’s just total frustration.
“My father died in July 1999 and to this day there is no memorial to him in the town amongst the people that he loved so much for so many years – Holmfirth.”
Mr Owen said he had grown frustrated with the mixed messages coming out of the council and his preferred sculptor, John Adler, had only been asked to tender for the project last month.
“We are now nearly into March and nothing has been heard from anyone, by anyone,” he said.
“People worldwide donated money ten years ago towards a Compo statue.
“I feel that this money has been held under false pretences and I am surprised that donors have not questioned the legality of the situation.”
Mr Owen said he now planned to withdraw the current fund of approximately £6,000 and launch another fundraising drive.
But he admitted he might have to settle for something more modest, possibly just a plaque.
He added: “I am very sorry that it has come to this and I appreciate the work that has been put into the project by certain members of the Holme Valley Business Association.
“Ten years ago thousands of people wanted and contributed towards a statue of Holmfirth’s adopted son – let’s give them one.”
A spokeswoman for the council said it remained committed to the scheme.
She said: “The Holmfirth heritage garden is part of a regeneration scheme to enhance local towns and villages.ŠIt will include landscaping of a public garden area, seating, lighting, public artworks, a shelter and a water feature as well as the bronze statue of Compo.
“Because this is a detailed scheme with many elements it is being planned carefully.
“A selection process is being established for the individual elements.
“Mr Owen’s preferred sculptor will be invited to tender for the work to create the Compo sculpture when the selection process commences.
“The council is keen to progress this project and is more than happy to speak to Mr Owen as soon as possible to discuss his concerns and how we can work together to select a sculpture that would reflect the essence of the Compo character.
“The £200,000 is from the council’s regeneration capital plan and Yorkshire Water are to make a contribution to the water feature.”