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NEGLECTED: Council boss defends authority over Conservative war memorial claims

NEGLECTED: Council boss defends authority over Conservative war memorial claims

The War Memorial on Hawkeys Lane North Shields, Image: North Tyneside Conservatives

A North Tyneside council boss has spoken out after a Conservative councillor claimed the borough’s War memorials are being “neglected”.

This comes as the authority’s Conservative group launched a petition calling for the area’s War monuments to be  professionally cleaned and the areas around them tidied up ahead of remembrance services this November.

Speaking about the campaign Coun Liam Bones, who represents Preston, claimed memorials had been “neglected” by the authority.

He said: “War memorials are a hugely important way for us to remember our history. With the end of the war in Afghanistan Remembrance services this year will be particularly poignant.

“These memorials have been neglected by the council for too long, it is only right that they should be professionally cleaned so we can preserve them in order to educate generations to come.”

But Phil Scott, director of environment, housing and leisure, detailed the work undertaken by authority staff to maintain the monuments.

This includes regular checks and repairs as well as additional cleaning carried out in November in advance of Remembrance Sunday.

He said: “All our war memorials are routinely inspected, repaired, and maintained. The work is done with the utmost pride by our maintenance staff, who work hard all year round to ensure that our memorials look their best and are a fitting tribute to those whose lives were lost in the service of their country.

“Every November, we carry out additional cleaning in advance of Remembrance Sunday and 2021 will be no different.

“In partnership with The War Memorial Trust, we delivered a programme of investment linked to the refurbishment of memorials over the last few years.

“During 2018/19, we completed a £100,000 scheme to restore 22 memorials, and carried out a cleaning programme in line with conservation guidance from Historic England.

“The scheme included new paving, inscription cleaning, and lighting repairs at the Earsdon memorial and the cenotaph on Tynemouth Front Street, and we are working with the War Memorials Trust to agree what restoration work is needed at the Hawkey’s Lane memorial, in North Shields, which is showing the signs of natural ageing after 100 years of exposure to the elements and is beyond cleaning.

“As a council with a proud tradition of supporting our armed forces and veterans, and commemorating our war dead, we are ever respectful of our memorials and the profound meaning they hold for our armed forces and people in our communities.”

 

Words: Herbert Soden, Local Democracy Reporter


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