BRIDLINGTON Town Council are hoping to replace warped and damaged plaques on the town’s war memorial with sturdy granite – but may face a battle to do so.
The Town Council have been in discussions with East Riding of Yorkshire Council since last year, after councillors complained about the memorial’s poor state of repair.
Now East Riding council have given town councillors three options – provide a new memorial within the existing garden with a paved approach and seat, renew the existing bronze plaques, or to replace the bronze with mahogany granite.
At the town council’s December meeting, councillors agreed that the third option, replacing the plaques with granite, was the best option – but the War Memorial Trust, who advise on the protection and conservation of war memorials, could stand in their way.
“The council have been in discussions with East Riding Council and the War Memorial Trust for quite some time,” said Coun Shelagh Finlay, who represents the south ward on both Bridlington Town and East Riding councils, at the meeting.
“The drawback of providing a new memorial at the site is that any services that are held use the main memorial as the focal point.
“By renewing the existing side elevation bronze plaques we can include any new names on the plaque, but this option reduces the flexibility to add further names without recasting the bronzes. It will also possibly attract metal theft which has been a problem elsewhere in the country.
“If we replace the side elevation bronze plaques with a mahogany granite, it allows flexibility to add further inscriptions and is not prone to metal thefts.
“However, it does detract from the historic nature of the memorial and the War Memorial Trust have indicated that they intend to attempt to have the memorial listed to prevent this approach.”
Further discussions are taking place between the town council, East Riding council and the War Memorial Trust.
Emma Nelson, conservation officer at the War Memorial Trust, said that the trust believes it is important to respect choices made by the loved ones of those remembered on memorials.
“The historic integrity of a memorial should be respected and the same materials used where possible.
“There is also an aesthetic impact on the memorial as a whole and adding an alternative material may negatively impact the appearance of the memorial.
“Using alternatives to metal may speed up the process of decay or weathering and materials may have been interacting chemically for many years and suddenly changing this combination may have a negative effect on what remains causing the memorials to decay at greater speed.”
Ms Nelson said that the trust understands people fear theft but said that “replacing with an inferior substitute can feel like letting the criminals win”.
l What do you think? With the threat of metal theft rising, and the poor state of the current bronze plaques, are the town council left with no other option? Send us your letters by post to 3 Prospect Street, Bridlington, YO15 2AE or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org