‘Common sense’ decision over memorial plaques

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A PARISH council chairman has praised a “common sense” decision to allow five plaques on a war memorial to stay in place.

Rutland County Council’s development control committee refused a retrospective application by Empingham Parish Council for five slate plaques on the war memorial at its meeting on Tuesday last week.

The parish council installed the plaques, which commemorate those killed in the First and Second World Wars, in the autumn ahead of Remembrance Day.

The county council refused the application because it said the new slate plaques were not in keeping with the style of the memorial, which is in the cemetery in Whitwell Road, Empingham.

But it said it would not take enforcement action to remove the plaques because it would cause too much damage to the memorial.

Parish council chairman Eileen Ray said the council had “overlooked” that planning permission was needed because it didn’t realise the memorial was Grade II listed.

She said: “It was just one of those things that we didn’t realise we needed the planning permission. We took advice from the War Memorials Trust and it was the local branch of the Royal British Legion that asked us to carry out the work and no-one mentioned it was listed. Not every war memorial is.”

Mrs Ray said the parish council was “happy” with the decision.

She said: “We understand the reasons that the council refused the application but we are all very pleased that we don’t have to take the plaques down.

“It would have completely ruined the memorial and the plaques are slate so they are hard wearing and will last forever. We did take the appropriate advice before doing it, it wasn’t just a spur of the moment thing.

“They are stuck on with vandal proof adhesive so they are nearly impossible to get off.”

She said the reason the work was carried out was because the inscribed names on the previous plaques of those who lost their lives was illegible.

A council spokesman said the planning committee had taken a “common sense approach” when making the decision.