High Peak Borough Council, which has responsibility for Memorial Park, Whaley Bridge, dashed hopes of a settlement by refusing to budge from its decision to board up the Cenotaph and close off access ahead of the Remembrance Day service, which the local Royal British legion had hoped to organise there on Sunday 10 November.
Simon Baker, chief executive of the Borough Council and Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, with which it is linked, sent a message on Friday (4 Oct) from his Leek office to people who asked him to change his mind over closing access to the war memorial. Work in the park – which was given to the people of Whaley Bridge as a tribute to the young men killed in World War I – has been going on for many months. The Cenotaph has already been treated, but work on access to the area of the park is only starting now.
A campaign to get the borough council to change the work schedule so that access could remain into November was led by David Woodward, secretary of Whaley Bridge’s branch of the Royal British Legion and John Swift, a member of Whaley Bridge Town Council.
Cllr Swift referred to paragraph 3 of Simon Baker’s message, saying it was untrue that the Cenotaph was closed to the public last year Said John: “It is a sad indictment of the council to quote that in the statement. It WAS open, but nobody told Whaley Bridge that it would be. By then, the Remembrance Service had been re-arranged to The Cross, in front of the Jodrell Inn.”
The Royal British Legion has not yet announced arrangements for the outdoor Remembrance Day service. A procession is already planned for Sunday 10 November to Holy Trinity church, where a service around the 11o’clock silence and Last Post will take place.
Read Simon Baker’s statement in full here