Giant Rombald now looks set to stay put.

Public consultation over relocating the 12ft-high statue had favoured a move from its present home in Keighley's Airedale Shopping Centre.

But centre manager Susan Mendoza -- speaking for the first time on the issue -- said yesterday that the structure should remain where it was.

She said: "The centre has adopted the figure as its own and there are very real worries that the much-loved statue could become a victim of local vandalism if moved to a different location.

"It also concerns me that public money will be wasted moving the figure from a place where it is already well looked after and appreciated by a dedicated team."

She added that the half-tonne structure, situated in the Caf Brasilia seating area, was a focal point for the centre and had recently benefited from a presentation stand.

"As the centre of gravity for the Keighley community, the Airedale Shopping Centre is the ideal place for Rombald to call home and be seen regularly by a vast majority of the local residents," she said.

"In addition, we have many people from outside the borough frequenting the centre due to our facilities and the adjacent bus station. Many of these people I speak to are very passionate that the statue should remain at the centre and I can only concur with these sentiments."

Councillor Bob Horrell -- chairman of Keighley Town Council's general purposes committee, which instigated the recent consultation -- said he understood the concerns over vandalism if the statue was moved out of the centre. But he added that his own view -- and that of many people he had spoken to -- was that the structure now looked totally out of place in its present position.

"You cannot see the bottom of it for coffee cups - it's a disgrace," he said.

"We will go along with the Airedale Centre - if its wish is for Rombald to stay put that's fine - but there is strong public feeling that his current location is unsuitable, and perhaps a better spot could be found for him within the shopping centre.

"On the finance issue, if the statue was moved out of the centre it was our intention to find a benefactor and not use public funds."

The majority of people who responded to the consultation - which was staged through the Keighley News - sup-ported a suggestion that Rombald should be placed in the centre of the Skipton Road roundabout, on the approach into the town from Beechcliffe.