Council must work with all parties to get agreement

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Arthur Parker obviously doesn’t like the idea of a wartime memorial planned for an area near his home in Hayling Island.

The Sea Front resident dismisses it as ‘grotesque’ and ‘a monstrosity’.

He’s perfectly entitled to his view, but it’s disappointing to hear him describe the 20ft granite stone monument in such strong terms.

The memorial would commemorate the men of the secret Combined Operations Pilotage Parties command unit, whose important mission was to covertly survey beaches that were targets for invasions during the Second World War.

Because they trained at Hayling, siting it on the island seems only natural.

As historian Robin Walton says: ‘These men saved thousands of allied lives and we want to recognise the Hayling link.’

That’s perfectly understandable. Prince Charles is behind the project too, as his uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten, established the COPP.

Yet we understand that not everybody shares their enthusiasm for the project and its proposed siting.

So it’s right that there should be a proper debate before Havant Borough Council meets to make a decision.

But that debate should centre on the memorial’s location, not the question of whether or not it should be built at all.

We maintain that it would be a distinctive and fitting way to remember the COPP and the bravery of those who served in the unit.

Another resident, Sylvia Collins, says the memorial should be at the sailing club as that’s where the COPP trained.

But private land isn’t the right place as not everybody would be able to see it.

And we don’t agree with her opinion that putting the memorial at Beachlands would make the area unsuitable for kite-fliers.

Is she seriously suggesting that people might not see something that would be 20 feet high?

We urge the council to work with all parties to try to find a location that is acceptable to everybody.