AN INTERPRETATION board telling the story of Clive of India will soon be put up to accompany the statue in Shrewsbury after Shropshire Council received a £7,000 grant.

Councillors discussed the controversial statue for a third time at a full council meeting on Thursday morning after a petition was handed in supporting the retention of the monument in the Square, where it has stood since 1860.

It comes after a petition to see the monument removed was handed in at the last full council meeting in July, when councillors agreed by 28 votes to 17 to take no further action.

A second petition with the same wording was debated by the council’s performance management scrutiny committee last week.

Councillor Steve Charmley, portfolio holder for assets, said: “We had an extensive debate at the last council meeting following the petition to remove the statue and the way forward which was agreed was that the statue would stay in place but an interpretation board would be placed on or near the statue.

“I am pleased to report that we have now received a grant of £7,000 to provide an interpretation board there and we will be intending to consult with local groups to agree a form of words to go on that board.

“This petition is obviously to retain the statue and I think we have already established that fact in a previous debate so I won’t go over old ground.”

Councillor Charmely did not say where the grant had come from.

Councillor Brian Williams congratulated the petitioner, Emma Dolphin, for starting the petition.

He added: “I was unaware, out in my rural patch of North Shropshire, of the petition, but had people in my division been aware of it I could have raised 100 signatures in a day, such in support of it, such has been the seriousness of concern that there are those who seek to re-write Shropshire’s and England’s history.

“I can say also that so far as I am aware, there’s not a single member of the Conservative majority group on this council who wants the statue moved.

“Clive has stood on the Square for many generations and it is the intention of the majority of this council that it should be there as part of Shropshire’s history for generations to come.”

Councillor Alan Mosley, leader of the Labour group, said he was pleased that a board would be put up, and asked Councillor Charmley who would be consulted on its wording and design. Councillor Charmley said it was too early to say, but that it would be an informal consultation involving Shrewsbury-based interested groups.

Councillor Mosley added: “I think there is widespread agreement within the population that Clive has a tragic and disreputable history and career that did great harm to the people of India and humanity as a whole.

“Can we put that on record please, and dispute the way Councillor Williams lauds his legacy and his life.

“I am disappointed more has not been done more quickly in terms of the interpretation boards but I am satisfied with what Councillor Charmley has said.”

Calls for the statue’s removal were sparked by Black Lives Matter protests earlier this summer which saw a statue of slave trader Edward Colston torn down by demonstrators in Bristol.

Campaigners say Robert Clive, a former Shrewsbury MP and mayor, should not be celebrated in the form of such a prominent statue due to his role in establishing British colonial control over India through the East India Company.

But not everyone agrees, and thousands of people also signed Ms Dolphin’s rival petition arguing that the removal of the Clive statue would be an attempt to erase him from the town’s history.