First stage of work on Portsmouth's war memorials to be completed before Remembrance Day

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THE first phase of work to transform the city centre's world war memorial area into a more 'fitting place' will be completed in time for Remembrance Day.

Ahead of this weekend's commemorations, the newly-renovated area around the two world war memorials in Guildhall Square will open.

Following the demolition of the former Drift in the City bar earlier this year Portsmouth City Council began work to 'open up' access the site. As a result a new paved walk way lined with plants and trees now leads to the memorials.

And the stepped access to the cenotaph now has handrails to assist less mobile veterans as they approach the memorial.

Councillor Steve Pitt, the council's culture and city development boss, said: 'The renovations have started to transform the memorial area into a more fitting place for veterans, visitors and local people to reflect, especially during memorial events.'

Bronze plaques will also be added to the memorial to honour around 1,500 service personnel who died during the First World War.

Cllr Pitt added: 'I look forward to seeing the missing names of those from our city who gave their lives for this country being added to the memorial walls.'

The final phase of the work, which will resume on January 15, will also include an extension to the paved area, further shrubs planted and benches for visitors to sit and enjoy the new space. 

It will be completed in time for the VE Day commemorations in May 2020.