Concerns raised over possible cost of war memorial revamp

Kimberley general views.'Kimberley War Memorial.
Kimberley general views.'Kimberley War Memorial.

A Kimberley resident has expressed concerns over a possible full-scale revamp of the town’s war memorial that would potentially cost up to £100,000.

The man, who did not want to be named, sent a message to Kimberley Town Council that such a project would be like ‘frittering people’s money away’ because the memorial had tens of thousands spent on it six years ago.

He said: “If the structure had been neglected for years this cost would be understandable. However, this seems very unnecessary given that Nottinghamshire County Council spent £110,000 on restoring the memorial and Nine Corners only six years ago. The county council has a team of heritage and conservation experts so their restoration would have been sensitive.”

The town council instructed a surveyor to inspect the roadside memorial.

It was identified that a full restoration would be a medium to long-term project costing up to £100,000.

No schedule has been set for the project. Instead the council decided in the short term, with the centenary of the onset of World War One this year, to clean the monument, remove loose paint, clear the plinth of grass and replant the surrounding area.

On Facebook it declared it would look ‘immaculate’ for a Freedom Parade on May 17.

But the resident, who has no connections to the town council, criticised the use of consultants after it also spent £11,500 on a company to look into the potential future of the town’s cemetery chapel — something that had been done years previous.

The man claimed: “This is a council with an annual budget of around £100,000. Local taxpayers this is your money.”

But the chairman of Kimberley Town Council, Cllr Jim McDonald, said the memorial was ‘unique’, and ‘important’ and complex work was needed for its restoration.

He also said the cash invested six years ago was not spent on the memorial itself, but the area around it.

“We are currently working with multiple partners to raise the funds required to restore the war memorial to its former glory,” said Cllr McDonald.

“We are delighted to have the support of Broxtowe Borough Council, our county councillor Ken Rigby, and our MP Anna Soubry.

“The unique nature of the memorial requires experts to both assess the work needed, and to undertake the restoration work.

“To ensure any bids for grant aid will be successful it is essential to use such expertise,” he added.

Cllr McDonald went on to say that the funding for the chapel project had now been secured, and this was down to the expert advice that was sought first by the council.