Memorial to elite unit is given the go-ahead

ARTIST'S IMPRESSION The monument planned for Hayling Island
ARTIST'S IMPRESSION The monument planned for Hayling Island
The memorial celebrating Portsmouth's great boxers is unveiled by Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Ken Ellcome and boxer Joel McIntyre Picture: Neil Marshall (171035-23)

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HAYLING Island will get a memorial in honour of a secret Second World War unit despite major objections.

Councillors last night agreed that a 21ft granite rock can be placed on Hayling seafront to honour volunteers in the Combined Operations Pilotage Parties, whose mission was to covertly survey beaches that were targets for invasions.

SUPPORT Prince Charles

SUPPORT Prince Charles

There was widespread support for the plans apart from a hard core of objectors whose properties in Sea Front will overlook the monument.

Speaking at the Havant Borough Council planning meeting, Arthur Parker, a Sea Front resident, pleaded with councillors not to give the go-ahead.

He said: ‘I represent most of the people on Sea Front and behind us in Webb Lane and Sea Grove.

‘The beaches of Hayling are there for the recreation and the pleasure of not just the people of Hayling but for visitors, holidaymakers and the like to enjoy themselves on the beach.

‘They do not come to look at the architecture – they certainly do not come here to see monuments.’

Mr Parker said the monument would be dangerous as it would act as a magnet to young people who would attempt to climb it.

He added: ‘We would be compelled to look at this obscene monstrosity every day. It infringes our freedom of choice and human rights. One of my friends even said it looked like a phallic symbol.’

Councillor Ann Buckley voiced concerns over the size of the monument and abstained from the vote but her five colleagues agreed to the application, which has been supported by Prince Charles, whose uncle Lord Louis Mountbatten established the unit.

Cllr Elaine Shimbart said: ‘It is something the people of the borough, and especially the people of Hayling, can be proud of.

‘If you’re going to erect a memorial it’s got to be in a prominent position.’

Supports of the memorial were at the meeting.

Speaking afterwards Robin Walton, who is behind the plans, said: ‘I am delighted the council has granted planning approval. However at the same time I’m sad that a number of Hayling residents have voiced such strong opposition to the project.’