Council orders Hull's legendary Kathmandu store to remove its iconic statues
Kathmandu owner Anthony Kettley
By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 9 Aug 2017
A Hull city centre shop owner has described his anger after being asked to remove iconic statues from outside his store.
Anthony Kettley said the statues outside Kathmandu are synonymous with the Ferensway store, where they have stood for 25 years.
Hull City Council is calling for the statues to be removed due to health and safety concerns, claiming they are a trip hazard for the blind.
Mr Kettley said the store has never had any complaints about the statues in their 25 years in front on the well-known tattoo, piercing and jewellery store.
“We have been in business here for 27 years and we have had the statues here for about 25 years on the street, working almost like advertising for the shop,” he said.
“They are something a bit different, that gives a bit of colour. We’ve had even had a letter before from the council to say they are happy for us to have them on the street."
Following a similar debate with the council in 2001, the city centre manager at the time said in a letter that the statues “may not be genuinely obstructive at all”.
The Buddha statue in Ferensway
Mr Kettley said two council officers went to the store last week and ordered the statues be removed by August 18 because they are a hazard.
He said: “A week ago the council came down and without any pleasantries ordered us to get rid of the statues as soon as possible.
“They said in no uncertain terms that we have to get rid of them immediately. But they are a key part of the shop.
"Every day people stop and take photos with the store people really associate them with the store.
“One is a Buddha that’s about six foot tall and stands in the street, but doesn’t really jut out. And the other is an African statue of a tribal man, which also has a piercing to show that side of the business.”
He says he think it is “unreasonable” for the council to complain about the statues when there is outdoor seating and uneven paving nearby.
“They have said that they want to get rid of it and anything that might block the path, saying it’s a hazard to the public, and particularly anyone who is partially sighted," he said.
“But they have been there for 25 years and no one has ever complained or had an incident before. You have cafés' outdoor seating and uneven paving that is surely more a hazard than the statues.
“We’ve put out something on social media about the council’s decision and we’ve had hundreds of people reply about how much they love the statues. We just want the council to come to their senses.
“Sometimes the pavement is so bad I wonder how any old people actually manage to get to the store, so I think picking on us is completely unreasonable.”
The owner says that since being threatened by the council that a highways officer has come down to the store to reassess the issue.
The statues outside Kathmandu
A Hull City Council spokeswoman said: “We want to work with businesses, not against them, in ensuring they advertise their offers without compromising the accessibility of pavements and the safety of others.
"Everyone has a duty to ensure that all pedestrians, particularly the visually impaired, are as safe as possible by reducing hazards on our pavements.
“Last year, Hull City Council was commended on its work to develop a street charter and worked closely with a number of groups including the RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) to develop measures within the charter, which included advising businesses in the correct way to display their external advertisements without risk to others.
“The vast majority of businesses have been cooperative and constructive and understand that the measures, in effect since a planning committee decision in May 2017, are to make the city centre as accessible as possible for everyone.”