Portsmouth council considers stricter rules for new memorials

The Falklands Memorial in Old Portsmouth'''Picture: Ian Hargreaves (160591-4)

FEARS over plans to stop memorials being put up for loved ones who have died have been played down.

Portsmouth City Council’s resources committee, due to meet on Thursday, is recommending proposals to halt new memorials in various locations.

Its reason for the move is that it cannot cope with the ‘high volume of current commemorative structures’.

Permission for memorials will now only be granted where there is an ‘exceptionally good reason’.

Areas at saturation point that will need to meet the new tough measures include Victoria Park and Guildhall Square in the city centre, the seafront including Southsea Common and Old Portsmouth.

Memorials are defined by the council as ‘statue, monument, sculpture, plaque or other commemorative work, structure or feature’ and do not include benches or trees – though they may also be restricted in certain areas.

The resources committee agenda report said: ‘Unfortunately, it is not possible to continue to accommodate new monuments/statues and commemorative benches in the same way as in the past as suitable sites are limited.

‘It should be borne in mind that installing considerable numbers of memorials/commemorative plaques or installing in an inappropriate fashion diminishes the value of the existing memorials in recognising noteworthy individuals or events from Portsmouth’s past.’

The report said Portsmouth has more than 50 memorials and other stone commemorations due to its naval and military connections. It also has many benches and the report added: ‘The council does not have the resources available to maintain these structures beyond minimal restorative work.’

But Councillor Frank Jonas, cabinet member for resources, played down any concerns and said people will still be able to have memorials.

He said: ‘There is no need to panic over this or for people to get the wrong end of the stick – new memorials will still be taken on merit.

‘There is an overspill in some locations while in other areas there is a lack of memorials so it’s just about being sensible and finding the right balance.

‘It’s not a case of there being no more memorials, it’s just knowing where they will be. People have no need to worry.

‘We know this is a sensitive issue and we don’t want to cause any upset to people over this and will do our best to oblige where possible.’

n The meeting is at 10am in the executive meeting room at Guildhall Square.

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