Merton Council set to replace war memorial garden with gravel

Wimbledon Guardian: The war memorial in Wimbledon Village The war memorial in Wimbledon Village

A war memorial, which has stood tall for nearly 100 years in Wimbledon Village, is set to become the latest victim of council cuts.

The memorial on Parkside, which was built in 1919 and commemorates Wimbledon residents whose lives were lost while serving their country, will have its surrounding garden replaced by gravel.

John Humphries, 87, lives directly opposite the memorial and discovered Merton Council’s plans after he spotted a man with a measuring tape on the site two weeks ago.

He said: “It seems they can go ahead and do this to save money without consulting anyone, what a great shame.

“This is the last of the historic green and it’s hardly a very big patch of grass to cut – I know someone who can do it in less than 40 minutes.

"Surely they should be consulting the residents before doing this."

Residents and councillors have complained about overflowing rubbish bins in the borough’s parks since the Council made a number of its full-time park keepers redundant.

The change was necessary, the council said, because it is received a reduced grant from the Government.

In a letter to Mr Humphries, Merton’s cabinet member for environment, Councillor Andrew Judge, said the war memorial was “not a core part” of the council’s day to day duties.

Instead the council will replace the grass with bound gravel, which Coun Judge said would cost less to maintain and “preserve a respectful, high presentational standard.”

Norman Plastow, president of The Wimbledon Society historical group, said removing the grass would be a “pity” and questioned why the council could not invite residents or other groups to maintain the memorial.

Mr Plastow said: “There are so many things which are disappearing for good because, bit by bit, we spend a little less and maybe don’t value things like the memorial as we did before.”

This year’s Remembrance Services in November will coincide with the 200-year anniversary of Britain of the Anglo-American War of 1812, when inventor William Congrieve would experiment his ‘Congrieve Rockets’ on Wimbledon Common.

Merton Council confirmed there would be no consultation on their plans.

Comments (5)

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10:39pm Wed 19 Sep 12

hawk1979 says...

As an ex-soldier I cannot believe that Merton council want to replace the memorial garden with gravel. This not only disrespects the death of the brave hero's but should not go ahead. I have just sent an email to the War Memorials Trust to bring this matter to they attention, I am sure there is something that can be done to stop this happening. My grand parents served in WW2 and where lucky to return, this memorial is to remember all those that lost their lives fighting for our Country.

WALKER Philip Joseph. Lance Corporal. 293302
7th Battalion Black Watch (Royal Highlanders).
Killed in Action 24 July 1918, aged 19 Was born in Wimbledon in 1898.

PEILE, Lt. John Selby Chadwick. "C" Bty. 190th Brig. Royal Field Artillery. Killed in action 2nd June 1917, aged 21. Son of Lt. Col. Alfred James and Marion Peile of Wimbledon, London. Educated at Cheltenham College and Royal Military Academy. B 22

Just two death records of servicemen from Wimbledon I have found in less that 1 minute.
As an ex-soldier I cannot believe that Merton council want to replace the memorial garden with gravel. This not only disrespects the death of the brave hero's but should not go ahead. I have just sent an email to the War Memorials Trust to bring this matter to they attention, I am sure there is something that can be done to stop this happening. My grand parents served in WW2 and where lucky to return, this memorial is to remember all those that lost their lives fighting for our Country. WALKER Philip Joseph. Lance Corporal. 293302 7th Battalion Black Watch (Royal Highlanders). Killed in Action 24 July 1918, aged 19 Was born in Wimbledon in 1898. PEILE, Lt. John Selby Chadwick. "C" Bty. 190th Brig. Royal Field Artillery. Killed in action 2nd June 1917, aged 21. Son of Lt. Col. Alfred James and Marion Peile of Wimbledon, London. Educated at Cheltenham College and Royal Military Academy. B 22 Just two death records of servicemen from Wimbledon I have found in less that 1 minute. hawk1979

10:40pm Wed 19 Sep 12

hawk1979 says...

They shall grow not old

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
They shall grow not old They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them. hawk1979

10:48pm Wed 19 Sep 12

hawk1979 says...

I have just carried out a search on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. I have found 1298 records of servicemen and women that were from Wimbledon that lost their lives fighting for this country.

I have also sent an email to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission about what Merton Council is planning on doing. I am hopeing that I can get Merton Council to stop this action.
I have just carried out a search on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. I have found 1298 records of servicemen and women that were from Wimbledon that lost their lives fighting for this country. I have also sent an email to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission about what Merton Council is planning on doing. I am hopeing that I can get Merton Council to stop this action. hawk1979

6:42am Thu 20 Sep 12

tjames says...

saving money--where?
saving money--where? tjames

9:19am Mon 24 Sep 12

DollyB says...

Disgraceful. What happened to the "Big Society"? I'm sure there are many locals who would have happily volunteered to look after the garden.
Disgraceful. What happened to the "Big Society"? I'm sure there are many locals who would have happily volunteered to look after the garden. DollyB

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