Agenda item

Western Road First World War Memorial Scrutiny Task and Finish Working Group - Draft Report

Report of Economic and Environmental Wellbeing Scrutiny and Policy Development Committee Western Road First World War Memorial Scrutiny Task and Finish Working Group



The Chair invited Councillor Lisa Banes, Chairman of the Western Road First World War Memorial Trees Task and Finish Cross Party Working Group, to present the Working Group’s report and recommendations.


Councillor Banes reported that the Working Group had been set up by this Committee following the submission of a petition at the meeting of the Council held on 4th January 2017. During a series of meetings, the Working Group considered and discussed the evidence and agreed that its role was to listen and gather information from a range of stakeholders and make recommendations for the memorial as a whole, not to supplant the role of the service in terms of making technical judgements or to undertake any consultation activity that was the role of the services to perform.



Councillor Banes drew the Committee’s attention to the importance of this memorial as a living tribute, which was visited often and well-loved by local people, and introduced the eight recommendations set out in the report.



Members of the Committee thanked Members of the Working Group, officers involved in the project, and residents that had provided evidence and engaged with the process. Members of the Committee then raised questions and the following responses were provided:-


·         The Working Group had discussed and agreed this report and its findings at a meeting in March 2017, with final details agreed via email subsequently.


·         Earlier intervention might have circumvented the problem, but funding pressures had long been a problem and this report made a recommendation to secure ongoing maintenance and try to prevent problems in the future.


·         The recommendations of the Working Group were carefully worded to highlight the issues and suggest a way forward without encroaching on the remit of the Independent Tree Panel. No financial recommendations had been included as this was in the purview of the Cabinet Member for Environment and Streetscene.


·         The details of the War Memorial Trust funding bid would be provided to Members in a follow-up report.


·         Members noted that the report would be taken to Council for information, with decision-making powers resting with the Cabinet Member.


·         Like most memorials, Western Road First World War Memorial had originally been funded by public subscription and should be treated with special consideration and differently to other street trees.





a)    Amended on the motion of Councillor Paul Wood, seconded by Councillor Mike Chaplin, that the Committee endorse the Working Group’s recommendations now submitted as follows:


1.    We recommend that the Western Road war memorial, with its intrinsic avenue of trees, be considered differently to other street trees. That it should be seen as an exception to the norm, and every effort is made to retain as many existing trees where possible by all appropriate means available to the Council, and that this recommendation does not extend to other types of war memorial.


2.    We recommend that beyond the core investment period, the Council moves from a position of limited or no obvious maintenance, to a clear and stated proactive war memorial and tree management plan.


3.    We recommend where practicable and affordable that engineering solutions are adopted to retain as many memorial trees on Western Road/Mona Avenue, as far as possible.


4.    We recommend that the Council look to restoring over time the Western Road War Memorial to its original concept. This would be subject to appropriate space, funding, and agreement with residents on Western Road and Mona Avenue.


5.    We note and support the Council’s commitment to ‘replanting and rededicating memorials over the coming months’. In regard to Western Road this could be with a view to unveil a fitting memorial in time for Centenary Anniversary of Armistice Day November 2018.


6.    We ask the relevant Cabinet member to share with the public the immediate, medium and longer term, future maintenance plan for Western Road War Memorial street trees.


7.    We recommend that the relevant Cabinet Member comes to the Economic and Environmental Scrutiny Committee to explain how they will respond to the differences and challenges identified in a) the Council’s technical recommendations following the Independent Tree Panel report, and b), the technical submissions from the community; and also the ask for a technical dialogue between the community and Streets Ahead.


b)    that Cabinet be requested to provide an initial response to their recommendations by September 2017, or sooner;


c)    that Cabinet be requested to provide a formal response for October 2017; and


d)    that the report be shared with Council.


(NOTE: Prior to the passing of the above resolution, two other motions were moved, one by Councillor Robert Murphy and seconded by Councillor Adam Hanrahan, and one proposed by Councillor Ian Auckland and seconded by Councillor Adam Hanrahan, both of which were put to the vote and negatived.)



The Committee considered the appropriate course of action for the petition submitted regarding Frecheville’s WW2 Memorial Trees.


RESOLVED: That the petition regarding Frecheville’s WW2 Memorial Trees be referred to Cabinet for consideration.


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