War Memorial is in safe hands, say campaigners

Denis Kenyon, Mark Robinson chairman, Brian Tanner civic society and Rosalind Willatts inside the Cottage Hospital War Memorial.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER
Denis Kenyon, Mark Robinson chairman, Brian Tanner civic society and Rosalind Willatts inside the Cottage Hospital War Memorial. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER
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Don’t worry people of Market Haborough - the town’s First World War Memorial is in safe hands, insists the local War Memorial Project Group.

The reassurance comes after the national War Memorial Trust said moving the town’s War Memorial on Coventry Road was risky and should be a last resort.

As reported in last week’s Mail, the Trust said a move would not only lose the unique Memorial’s original setting, but would risk damaging it.

“War Memorials Trust believes that until that is proven to be impossible, a memorial in this situation should not be moved because of the potential risks” said the Trust’s conservation officer Chris Reynolds.

But this week the local War Memorial Project group was quick to reassure local people.

“The Mail’s readers can be assured that nothing rash will be done, and that they will be kept fully in the picture” said the local War Memorial Project Group’s Denis Kenyon, in a letter to the Mail.

“It is completely understandable for War Memorial Trust’s Conservation Officer to express concerns about the possible move” he wrote .

“All the points he mentions are being given careful consideration by the Project Group.

“If the move goes ahead, the work of dismantling, transporting and re-erection will only be undertaken by approved conservation experts.”

The town’s unique War Memorial forms a pillared porch or portico at the front of the now-redundant Cottage Hospital.

The NHS wants to sell the old hospital site, and the hospital building itself looks likely to be demolished.

That would leave the grade II listed War Memorial isolated in the middle of a building site. If that happens, the local War Memorial Project Group would seek to move the portico to the Memorial Gardens in the town centre.

The Group has already commissioned specialist surveys and a cost estimate for the potential move.

Health campaigner Phil Knowles said the NHS should make their Cottage Hospital land disposal plans clear as soon as possible.

He said that was now “the key piece of the jigsaw”.

He added: “Once the NHS disposal plan is on the table, in full and with total transparency, then the discussions can move forward.”