Plans For New War Memorial Ceremony Dropped After Council Chairman’s Comments

The new memorial was unveiled in July.

The new memorial was unveiled in July.

The main Remembrance Day wreath-laying ceremony will take place at the war memorial in Old Town on Sunday.

That’s because organisers have decided against using the site of the new memorial in The Park after Council Chairman Amanda Martin questioned whether permission had been granted to use the Authority’s open space.

Royal British Legion supporters met Cllr Martin to discuss arrangements for using the new memorial, which was erected this summer after thousands of pounds of funding was raised by the community.

The site, opposite Park House, was picked to provide easier access for elderly and less mobile islanders who want to pay their respects.

But Cllr Martin’s comments made organisers doubt whether they’d be permitted to use The Park because of planning permission.

The Planning Committee did approve the memorial in March this year. There were no conditions imposed that would preclude the use of the site for a wreath-laying ceremony.

In a written statement Cllr Mrs Martin says planning permission relates to development not to usage. But she confirmed that she asked Smudge Smith if he had sought the appropriate permissions to use The Park for Remembrance Sunday this year.

Islanders who intended to lay wreaths there say they left the meeting with the impression that councillors had voted against a plan to use the new memorial and that members had backed the continued use of the Old Town memorial.

Cllr Martin has confirmed there was a discussion but it was held during an informal Council meeting. Members would not have been allowed to take a vote in that meeting as decisions can’t be made in informal sessions where no minutes are taken.

Radio Scilly has since learned that there was some councillor support for the use of the new memorial at that meeting.

Following their discussions with Cllr Martin, Remembrance Day organisers felt they wouldn’t be allowed to hold the official ceremony at their new memorial this year.

Cllr Martin says the consensus at the meeting was to hold the 2014 Remembrance Sunday procession in the traditional way and to seek the community’s views for the future.

The organisers say they’ll assess options for 2015 over the next few months but Sunday’s service will be held at the Old Town churchyard following a service led by Rev Gibbs at the Methodist Chapel at 10.45am.

This year, for the first time, the island’s Masonic lodge will lay a wreath as islanders remember the war dead.

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