I have received the update below from the Councils War Memorials Officer. I sincerely hope it dispels some of the myths that are circulating on social media and provides some comfort, particularly to those families who have lost a loved one in conflict.
Thank you for the email requesting further information on the Moreton War Memorial move. I have just returned from leave and seen a number of enquiries about a FoI on this and one from a lady who I will call back later today.
Having received a number of complaints about the state of the memorial grounds and lack of access, before last year’s remembrance parade and the centenary of the first world war, I approached the Royal British Legion to see what could be done. It was suggested that the memorial move to a more accessible location given that the existing premises were closed and fenced off. In addition to this, disabled access for the service is difficult so the new location would allow better access.
The options chosen were the grounds of the Methodist church opposite the current new site but having received agreement from the Manchester office, the local committee unanimously refused permission for the memorial to go into the grounds of the church. The Royal British Legion have, in the past worked alongside the church but it seems on this occasion we were not to get the required permission. It is for this reason we opted for the reserve site of Maryland Lane and Pasture Road which was chosen as it was set back from the road and would be able to safely accommodate a service. We did want to use the Library side of the road but I was informed that this was to be held for future development, and the third option of the church ground between the old and new site were deemed to be unsuitable due to access issues.
The process has gone through planning and the original move was discussed and agreed with the Royal British Legion, who are paying for the relocation of the memorial and Wirral have facilitated the planning application. The new site is to be situated approximately four feet from the low level boundary wall to prevent people jumping from the wall onto the memorial, but this will not prevent anyone deciding to disrespect the memorial or those whom are remembered up on the memorial by climbing on or swing from the memorial. This, unfortunately is a problem we have with a number of memorials up and down the country and one which would still have been relevant were we able to relocate the memorial all be it a more sheltered location of the church grounds. We are also replacing the single flagpole with two new units which will also have an internal halyard (rope) to allow flags to be safely raised, lowered and left in position if required. The flagpoles are also to be situated four feet from the boundary wall to prevent people climbing on them.
I have, this morning, seen emails from the police in relation to the size of the attendance, and it seems my original information of 50-60 has grown to a larger number of around 100 who attend the remembrance service. The reason the site was chosen was to allow a large number of people to attend and not interfere with the traffic flow of Pasture road and allow full access (including disabled access) throughout the year rather than the limited access on the old memorial site.
Throughout the last few months I have received phone calls from residents who have heard numerous stories including the destruction of the memorial, and it being relocated to the middle of a local housing estate. I have spoken to the callers and assured them of the plans for the memorial which has left them happy for the new location and reasons for the move. I have, this morning been made aware that some local residents are complaining about the new site and that it should be in the church with the result of this being a call for a petition. I also believe that there have been ashes scattered on the ground of the memorial, which would have been the grassed area to the side of the actual memorial location, which, unfortunately we are unable to do anything about but the memory of those lost will not be forgotten. During the excavation of the memorial base, we did not find any time capsules or other material that could have been transferred to the new location
I trust the above is sufficient for your requirements, but if you need any further information, please feel free to contact me
Asset Surveyor (CAD) / War Memorials Officer
Transformation & Resources
Cheshire Lines Building