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War Memorials (Essex)

Volume 487: debated on Thursday 29 January 2009

The Petition of the War Memorial Fund Raising Committee, members of the Royal British Legion and residents of Canvey Island,

Declares that Castle Point Council has acted without proper consultation to propose changes to the War Memorial at the Paddocks on Canvey Island; believes that councillors should not take such action without proper consultation and agreement with the stakeholders and wider community and that the overwhelming view of stakeholders and residents is that it should remain at its current site.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to make Castle Point Borough Councillors aware of this petition and of the very deeply and widely held view that Councillors should consult before taking any action to disturb the War Memorial.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Bob Spink, Official Report, 22 October 2008; Vol. 481, c. 416.]


Observations from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government:

The Secretary of State understands the resident’s concerns about the future of the War Memorial, but it is the Government’s general approach not to interfere with the jurisdiction of local planning authorities unless it is necessary to do so. Parliament has entrusted them with responsibility for day-to-day planning control in their areas as they are normally best placed to make decisions relating to their areas and it is right that, in general, they should be free to carry out their duties responsibly, with the minimum of interference.

The Secretary of State understands from Castle Point Borough Council that no planning application was needed for the maintenance work. The council have stated that for some time the local community had expressed some dissatisfaction to the council about the condition of this particular War Memorial and the surrounding gardens. The local community asked the council to tidy the area and make the memorial more presentable in time for Remembrance Sunday. The Council agreed with this and the work has now been carried out.

As the work has already been carried out the Secretary of State has no jurisdiction in the matter and can only suggest that the residents of Castle Point contact the Council’s monitoring officer—and initiate the council’s complaints procedure—who is responsible for investigating any complaints made against the council with regards to possible maladministration.