Controversial D-Day memorial is backed

An artist's impression of the D-Day memorial proposed at Stokes Bay in Gosport
An artist's impression of the D-Day memorial proposed at Stokes Bay in Gosport
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A CONTROVERSIAL proposal to move a D-Day memorial in Gosport has been given the go-ahead by councillors.

A planning application detailing the £25,000 proposal for a new monument in a ‘quieter’ area of Stokes Bay will now be sent to planners at Gosport Borough Council before Christmas.

As long as the authority grants permission to the application, the new memorial should be completed next year, before the town’s D-Day memorial on June 8.

At a community board meeting in the town hall, it was decided the cost of the memorial move would be included in the authority’s budget for 2013/14.

The new proposed memorial, close to the beach, will be 15m by 10m.

Angela Whitbread spoke on behalf of opponents at the meeting. She described the move as ‘as disrespectful as disturbing a war grave’.

‘As the wife of a Canadian and the daughter-in-law of a late Canadian veteran, who left Britain’s shores to fight for a democratic and better life for future generations, I don’t feel it is right to spend public money on a project such as this in such a difficult economic climate,’ she said.

‘I feel sure many Canadian veterans would not wish hardship placed upon Gosport residents, many of whom gave hospitality to Canadian soldiers whilst waiting to leave for that historic day in June 1944.’

The Gosport Society has also voiced concerns.

But Councillor Derek Kimber, vice-chairman of the community board, said: ‘I went to the Canadian memorial on November 11 at around 2pm. I saw a Royal British Legion cross and beside it were five fag ends which reinforced my idea that we should move this to somewhere more sensitive. It is overcrowded – there is a cafe right opposite and I have seen bikes being rested up against it.

‘I feel that if we are going to be looking at commemorating the 70th anniversary, now would be a good time to move that to somewhere more sensitive.’

Plans to move the memorial have been worked on since a group of Gosport people came together under the D-Day Fellowship with the idea.

A consultation will take place once the planning documents have been submitted.