A ROW has erupted over a move to place two large statues in Saltburn.

The Saltburn Improvement Company wants people to say where they want the sculptures to be sited, but an angry resident says people have not been given the option of saying they do not want the figures at all.

However, Mr Brian Kennedy's claims have been disputed.

Redcar and Cleveland council says a library display was used by some people to register objections to the scheme.

The SIC display invites people to choose one of three sites for the statues: one is of Saltburn founding father Henry Pease and the other a combination of railway artefacts.

"I asked if the library would permit me to invite people to give written statements that the statues are not wanted at all," said Mr Kennedy.

"I was refused permission. I do not think the library service is being even-handed, paying no attention to the right of free expression."

Mr Kennedy wanted to put up posters saying people should have a free choice as to whether the statues should be put up anywhere in Saltburn.

A council spokesman said visitors to the exhibition had been given a choice of three locations, with plenty of space to make comments.

"We can assure Mr Kennedy that people have used this space to say they don't want the statues and I am sure he must have read these remarks for himself," he said.

"We do not accept that we refused him the chance of putting his petition on show but what we have been keen to do is avoid the library getting involved in a dispute between two different factions."

SIC secretary Mrs Joan Guy said the statues had been made with the help of children from Saltburn primary school.

"People should bear that in mind. The young people think they are good."

The £23,000 scheme was funded as part of a £1m rural challenge arts-only grant.

Made from heavy steel, the statues are about 9ft high and are part of a wider project celebrating Saltburn's history.

See Letters to the Editor: page 16.