War memorial ‘vanity project’ refused

<img class=" wp-image-623 alignright" src="http://bygonekent this post.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Faversham_war_memorial_8276_400px-420×514.jpg” alt=”faversham_war_memorial_8276_400px” width=”305″ height=”355″ />A plan to dismantle and rebuild the war memorial in Faversham at a cost of £120,000 has been rejected after it became clear that few people supported the idea.

Swale Council received 74 letters of opposition; only two supported it. Opponents called it a “vanity project” and an “unnecessary waste of public money” in the town’s only public garden.

The plan had been to dismantle the granite cross, which was unveiled by Vice Admiral Sir Hugh Evan-Thomas on 3 November, 1922, and put it at the back of the memorial gardens on the corner of Stone Street and Roman Road.

No names of the fallen are recorded on the memorial and new name plaques would have been affixed to the side of new pathways within the gardens.

The War Memorials Trust opposed any changes to the monument, which is is Grade II listed and in a conservation area, and feared that irreversible damage could be caused if the monument were dismantled.

The Faversham Branch of the Royal British Legion, which supported the proposal, said it would “allow all a clear and safe access so that everyone can give their own personal remembrance to all the local, brave servicemen that gave their lives fighting for us all. In its present position anyone with mobility problems cannot get close enough to lay a wreath or get close enough to give a personal tribute.”

However, the opponents said the plan was against the wishes of the people who put the memorial there originally; and the proposed appearance was “rather brutalist and old-fashioned with too much gloomy hard material”. One writer said: “Many of the townsfolk want to keep our only public garden, and not turn it into a … parade ground.”

Others pointed out that it was a haven for wildlife, instilled a sense of civic pride, and the plans would “make it a dead place full of stone and concrete”.