A COMMEMORATIVE statue, by a renowned sculptor, will be built in Billericay High Street to mark 400 years since a pilgrimage to America.

Plans by Billericay Town Council for the two-metre high bronze sculpture of Mayflower and Pilgrims at Jim Shields Garden have now been given the go-ahead by Basildon Council.

The town council says it should in place next Autumn - and will cost about £13,000.

The two structures will mark the 400th anniversary of the pilgrims’ arrival in what was to become the United States of America in November 1620. Several pilgrims originated from the Billericay and Burstead area.

Sculptor John Doubleday will be producing the two pieces, his other works include a portrait of Charlie Chaplin in Leicester Square, London.

Residents said they are pleased to see more history being recognised.

Laura Kopsberg, 41, of Lion Road, Billericay, said: “This sounds like such a wonderful idea.

“A lot of time we are complaining about losing our history - but this is keeping the memories of those people alive.

“It’ll also be very interesting for visitors and what a great place to build this.

“I think it can only be good news for the town and high street, it’s in a place where we can all see it and enjoy it too.

“I am pleased the town council put this forward and even more pleased Basildon Council approved it.”

Miles Burns, 23, of Chapel Court, added: “It will also be of interest to people who are not aware or those who don’t know much about the journey and the people who travelled to America.

“It is quite an interesting fact about the town that we have people who undertook such a journey.

“I also think taxpayers will think it’s a good use of their money and will be pleased the council is spending the money in this way.

“I think it’s an excellent idea and will be very popular in the town.”

Jim Devlin, chairman of the town council, said: “We are very pleased about this, we didn’t think there would be any worries about the council agreeing this.

“It’s going to be a vocal point in the town and high street.

“John Doubleday has completed some very well-known works so we are very lucky to work with him.

“I think it will be liked by a lot of people.”