The NHS has not ruled out funding, or helping to fund, the re-siting of Market Harborough’s listed War Memorial, the Mail can reveal.
When asked directly by the Mail if the NHS would pay for the relocation of the Grade II listed monument, a spokesman for NHS Property Services said: “It’s not ‘yes’ or ‘no’ at the moment.
“We’re looking at various options with the Memorial Group itself, with Historic England and with the local council.”
The town’s unique First World War Memorial Portico is currently located at the front of the Cottage Hospital in Coventry Road.
It and much of the hospital behind it were paid for by public subscription in the 1920s. The site was later inherited by the NHS.
But as we reported in the Mail last week, when the new St Luke’s Hospital on Leicester Road is completed, the Coventry Road site is likely to be sold by the NHS.
A new town-based committee is looking to move the monument to the Memorial Gardens in town.
Mark Robinson, chair of the group, said: “There are issues to resolve ... including financing the cost.”
This week a spokesman for NHS Property Services said: “We recognise the importance of the listed War Memorial to local people and have held preliminary discussions with the planning authority and the war memorial group to talk about the options.
“We are seeking expert advice from specialist heritage organisations to help inform our proposals and will continue to work with local partners as the project progresses.”
He conceded that the site was probably worth more to the NHS without a War Memorial which any future developer would have to deal with.
The War Memorial contains the names of 1,655 Market Harborough people who fought in the First World War.