I WAS heartened to read I am not alone in my disgust at the removal of the Conner Barrett sculpture from Colchester library and that others have taken up my stance that the sculpture should be immediately returned.

The thin excuses for its removal have not just becoming a bigger local embarrassment as the weeks go by but now its become a national embarrassment too as a large article on the matter has appeared in The Mail on Sunday this weekend. The sculpture has been in the library for decades, and its removed now because it causes offence? Who made the decision to have it removed? and on what evidence did they act on?

Official procedures for the art work being taken down “should” have been followed in which case there will be a paper trail and a full and frank explanation can be given, not what I and others are clearly finding flimsy statements.

A quote from an Essex County Council spokesperson says it was removed as part of the “recent project to transform the ground floor” but the sculpture was across the foyer, round a corner and up a staircase, its removal was totally unnecessary. We then read in the article that the image of a solider spearing a baby has been upsetting parents and children.

The children’s library has been downstairs at the other end of the foyer for several years and is some distance from this sculpture.

I warrant the majority of the children not only won’t see the sculpture, but couldn’t.

While I accept that some children may go with their parents to the upstairs part of library, meaning they then have to walk past it when they leave, may I suggest the parents do the adult and responsible thing if the children question the sculpture and that is to explain it in its religious context.

If the people who complained about the art work are so offended by it, it’s a wonder they walk the streets of the town because I have seen and heard far more offensive things there than this striking work of art.

I am extremely worried about this valuable work of art vanishing.

As for the council making “extensive enquiries” about another venue for the work to be displayed, there is no question in my mind that it should be returned to the library immediately.

This should not be too difficult or costly as it's “on site” already according to a quote from Essex County Council.

Removing the work to another venue would prove very costly and time consuming indeed.

I was also concerned about another missing sculpture by him, the one that used to hang in the foyer of Mercury Theatre.

However I have had a letter from Steve Mannix, executive director of the theatre, and he assures me that the sculpture is safe and still on the premises.

I appeal to all who hate censorship and care about the town, contact your borough and county councillor and get them to press for the return of this work of art to its rightful home and let us not be dictated to by the PC brigade of the nanny state or a few nervous Nellys.

Wendy Buck Greenstead Road, Colchester

  • We’re being priced out of town gyms

“At least £1,020 disposable income, a 4x4 and live a couple of miles out of town” - if the bosses at the David Lloyd gym don’t want locals, why didn’t they say.

What this town needs is not a gym that the less well-off can’t afford.

But another affordable centre with a pool complex where it’s not continuously booked for schools, where people who have a genuine need can go for some gentle exercise to help with health issues.

I have to travel out of Colchester to find a place which is both affordable, and available, and I’m not the only one. Sports facilities are also going the same way - anyone who has been inspired to take up a sport following the Olympics and Paralympics will soon find you will not be able to do it.

Yet, for example, the tennis courts at Shrub End spend 80per cent of the time unused.

Somebody needs a shake; what can you reasonably do without this modern need to pay somebody through the nose? These facilities should be made available at off-peak times for youngsters and others who at least want to have a try.

The council need to think ahead. This town has outgrown the leisure centre, and not everyone can afford the other places.

Kevin Starling Eldred Avenue, Colchester

  • We need to make family travel easier

For those who use the 88 Halstead to Colchester bus service First and Hedingham have agreed to accept their rivals' tickets.

This means there is no need to buy two singles or wait up for the best part of an hour for the bus matching the issued ticket.

On issue with public transport including rail is that it can be very expensive to convey families- with cars, a whole family can travel for much the same cost as a single car driver.

So we need to find as many ways as possible to ensure that the often slower but more relaxing public transport is priced competitively against the car, especially when many are travelling together.

AR and KA Wainwright Upper Fenn Road, Halstead