NEWTOWN Town Council will back moves by enthusiasts to have statues of "Powys Pioneers" placed on the bypass roundabouts.

Last night (Monday, June 25) Peter Webber, Chairman of Newtown based Cellpath and Ann Evans, Secretary of the Newtown Local History Group presented the idea to Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn's Full Council meeting.

At their last meeting in May, the council backed a proposal to have the bypass named after arguably Newtown's most famous son, the 19th century textile manufacturer and social reformer Robert Owen.

The statues proposal goes several steps further and would see statues of Robert Owen, followed by Sir Pryce Pryce-Jones the father of mail order sales at the Kerry roundabout, fashion designer Laura Ashley, and industrialist David Davies Llandinam, placed on the roundabouts that go from one end of the bypass to the other.

They believe that the proposal would be backed by companies and that the statues could be funded privately.

The pair even had the melodious voice of Welsh rugby, Eddie Butler to help their presentation. with a clip from a documentary on Welsh greats which concentrated on Robert Owen.

Eddie Butler described him as the man who "switched on the lights in the dark satanic mills," helping sell their proposal.

Peter Webber, explained: "We're looking for a letter of endorsement, we're not looking for public money.

"This is a one time opportunity, the timing is perfect.

By-passes open every dame, if it's just named the Robert Owen bypass, that's what everyone will do, just bypass him.

"We want to project Mid-Wales heritage as the birthplace of entrepreneurs, there's something in the water here that sparks invention and creativity."

Ann Evans added: "We want to make a global statement, it;s a chance for people to rediscover what we have here and market it worldwide.

She also pointed to other places where statues had been placed on roundabouts.

"In Blackwood (near Newport) they have have a 36-foot statue of the Chartist and the Council there say it helped regenerate the town.

Ann added that at Llangefni on the Isle of Anglesey, Alun Griffiths Construction, were involved in a similar project where schoolchildren had designed a sculpture to be placed on the newly built roundabouts for the A5114 on the way into the county town.

"We are up against time, but we can still get them placed once the bypass has been opened," said Ann.

Newtown Mayor, Cllr Sue Newham, said that when the town council had discussed a similar proposals they were told it could not be done.

"This Council welcomes the effort and we give our support.

"We certainly wish you good luck, with what you propose."

The next step will be to seek the support of the Welsh Government.