Should it stay or should it go? Concerns for fate of town's hare sculpture

The GoGoHare sculpture on Church Approach in North Walsham.

The GoGoHare sculpture in North Walsham will be removed while work is carried out on Church Approach. - Credit: Daniel Hickey

Plans for rejuvenating North Walsham's town centre have raised fears over the fate of a much-loved hare sculpture.

The artwork, named Lepus, has sat on a plinth on Church Approach, between the Shambles cafe and the Hop Inn, since the GoGoHares trail of the summer of 2018.

Within a few weeks, however, it will be taken away for safekeeping while work is carried out on Church Approach as part of North Norfolk District Council's (NNDC) High Street Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) project. 

The GoGoHare in North Walsham with Market Street in the background.

The GoGoHare in North Walsham with Market Street in the background. - Credit: Daniel Hickey

The project will see a raft of changes including a more pedestrian-friendly town centre and a new landscaped public space at the Shambles. 

And while the council has said it is keen the hare remains a prominent feature in the town, some residents have expressed concerns about its possible relocation.  

Mike Whistler, 63, from North Walsham.

Mike Whistler, 63, from North Walsham. - Credit: Daniel Hickey

Mike Whistler, 63, said: "It should stay where it is. It has been here a long time. 

"It would be a shame if it was moved. It greets people coming into the town. It started its life here so it should stay here." 

Des Johnson North Walsham

Des Johnson, a taxi driver, enjoys looking at the hare while waiting for a fare. - Credit: Daniel Hickey

Des Johnson, a cab driver, said he enjoys looking at the hare while sitting in his car at the neighbouring taxi rank waiting for a fare. 

Ann Lamb, 63, and Diane Andrews, 64, also believed it should stay where it is. 

Ann Lamb, 63, and Diane Andrews, 64, in North Walsham

Ann Lamb, 63, and Diane Andrews, 64, also believes North Walsham's GoGoHare sculpture should stay on Church Approach. - Credit: Daniel Hickey

Graham Cann, 86, said: "It looks quite nice. He's quite happy sitting there. I can't see anything wrong with it. I've got used to him, every time I come around the corner." 

John Caton, 47, said: "It's nice for people driving into town to have a view of the hare and the church in the background." 

The GoGoHare in North Walsham with Market Street in the background.

The GoGoHare in North Walsham with Market Street in the background. - Credit: Daniel Hickey

Catherine Wedge-Clarke, communications and engagement officer for the town's HAZ project, said: "We are delighted to hear that residents are very passionate about the hare and we welcome all their views. 

"The council is therefore very keen to ensure it remains a prominent feature.

"Once the work is completed it is our intention that the NNDC hare will be incorporated into the new-look area," she added.

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Lepus is a mosaic design by artist Anne Schwegmann-Fielding, using white, silver and gold crockery, mirror circles and bus shelter glass.  

The council is asking residents to check www.haznorthwalsham.com and the Facebook page @haznorthwalsham for updates.