A BID to deter people from keeping up the tradition of placing a traffic cone on an A-Listed monument in Glasgow city centre is to be withdrawn after a public outcry.

Glasgow City Council had drawn up plans to prevent the practice on the monument of the Duke of Wellington on horseback in Royal Exchange Square.

The local authority had been considering placing a plinth underneath the monument as part of a £65,000 refurbishment proposal, as it claimed the practice projects a "depressing" image of the city. It was hoped the move would have heightened the statue, placing it out of reach of people.

But last night it emerged that the local authority's leadership has been angered after details were made public. An online petition to save the cone on the Duke of Wellington attracted 4000 signatures. Organisers Donna Yates and Gavin Doig say it is a part of the city's heritage.

Discussions were taking place last night over how best to pull the application and draw a line under the debacle.

Although the council is in agreement that the duke's statue is being damaged and has quietly been removing the image from promotional materials, the language used in the application has been the source of the ire.

One source said: "Yes, we all agree that the tradition of the cone on the duke's head is probably one to move on from but it's not a 'depressing sight', as the application made out.

"It was probably felt this document was for internal consumption and wouldn't become public, but it has.

"Gordon [Matheson, the council leader] is as livid about this as I've ever seen him. He appreciates there's a lot of affection for this and the tone and language of the application hasn't helped.

"The issue now is how to move on from this and the first step will be to withdraw the application."

For years, the statue by the world-renowned Italian artist Baron Carlo Marochetti has been the target of revellers who climb the plinth to place a traffic cone on the monument, which is situated outside the city's Gallery of Modern Art.

But despite its own marketing agency using the image, its arms-length museums trust selling merchandise emblazoned with it and even the 2014 Commonwealth Games adopting it, the city council was seeking to stamp out this image of the city by doubling the size of the plinth so only the "most determined of vandals" would seek to continue the practice.

Historic Scotland, which has previously warned against the practice of placing a cone on the monument, was to pay £10,000 of the cost.

The raising of the statue was planned to be complete by 2015, the 200th anniversary of the defeat of Napoleon by Wellington at Waterloo.

It is also understood that fears of a major compensation claim against the council by someone falling from the plinth or being hit by a falling cone were partly behind the move.

According to Gary Nesbit, a leading expert on Glasgow's public statues, damage is being done to the duke by decades of being climbed upon.

But Mr Nesbit said he was opposed to any plinth, which he said would remove it from its scale and context.

He said: "His sword is damaged, the plinth is scuffed, it's covered with stickers and biological growth and how we treat a monument to a symbol of all that is wonderful about the British military is a disgrace. But raising it would destroy its scale. What's needed is illumination and cameras."