Localism Act could stop Tower Hamlets selling off Henry Moore sculpture

An 11th hour bid has emerged to prevent Henry Moore’s famous ‘Draped Seated Woman’ sculpture being sold off by Tower Hamlets council.

Opposition Tory councillors on the local authority in east London say the government’s new Localism Act could stop the �20m bronze artwork going on the market.

The Act has a ‘Community Right to Bid’ which could halt the sale of valuable assets, giving voluntary organisations time put in a bid and preserve them for the community, Conservative group leader Peter Golds has discovered.

“This new right gives the chance to nominate the sculpture as an ‘asset of community value’ which would stop the clock on the sale for six-months,” he told the Advertiser.

“Community possessions such as Moore’s ‘Old Flo’ statue should be included and a proper home found for it where it can be appreciated again.”

He has now written to the GLA and the Department of Culture in Whitehall seeking guidance.

The sculpture has been stored for the past 15 years in Yorkshire after demolition of Stepney’s Stifford Estate where it had been displayed since it was given as a gift to the people of the East End in 1962.

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Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman told his cabinet earlier this month to look at options to sell it—because the council needs the money.