History of Lindal & Marton

A village community at the heart of Furness


Parish Council

Memorial Move Prompts Anger

This article was written by Jennie Dennett and first published in The Westmorland Gazette on Friday 16th April 2004. It is reproduced here with her permission.

The Green and war memorial at Lindal-in-FurnessTHE village green is meant to be the focus of happy village life, the home of jolly fetes, laughter-filled sports days and picnics in the sun.

But at Lindal-in-Furness, it has become the centre of an increasingly acrimonious row.

Lindal and Marton Parish Council has applied for planning permission to carry out what it believes will be 70,000 worth of "enhancements", including moving the war memorial and replacing rusty railings.

Yet about one-third of village residents are unimpressed. They accuse councillors of ruining their natural-looking green by trying to turn it into a parkland feature. Some 220 people have signed a petition and have lobbied Barrow and Furness MP John Hutton to back their objections.

Parish council chairman Tom Weall explained that the rejuvenation plan arose from the Lindal and Marton Residents Association in 2002. The association felt the roadside war memorial on the edge of Lindal Green would benefit from being moved away from traffic.

Mr Weall said: "It's been there for 80 years now. In those days, it would be horses and carts but today the village is very busy.

"The idea is to position it into the green by about three or four yards, where there will be a circle of trees round it and a couple of benches for people to sit and contemplate it will be in its own little oasis."

The parish approached the land owner, Barrow Borough Council, which suggested the memorial move could be part of a larger plan to smarten-up the entire green. Three public meetings later, and the parish has now submitted its revamp plan complete with detailed sketches drawn-up by the residents' association at a cost of 2,000.

It includes installing a recently-salvaged mining bogie atop a plinth as a reminder of the area's mining heritage; putting up a one-foot stone wall around the green with railings on top; adding three new entrance gates and laying a gravel path along the length of the green.

"At the end of the day, we are elected for the whole parish and we think the proposals can only enhance the green," said Mr Weall.

But residents on the green simply want the council to mow the grass, fix the railings and look after the trees.

"It's just needs more maintenance," said Lynn Dack, who helped to rally signatures for the petition. "It's an absolutely beautiful village green, we don't feel it needs to be changed.

"A lot of the older residents feel it's completely disrespectful to move the memorial. It's on consecrated ground. Their justification for moving it because of traffic is completely unjustified. It's on a quiet road! Under the trees, it will get all the sap and the bird excrement."

Residents further complained that the addition of benches would encourage teenagers to hang around; that the plinth and wall would be unattractive; and that the extra entrance on Pit Lane would pose a hazard as children would run out on to the road.

The plans were forged without proper consultation and a public meeting, deemed to support the proposals by the council, was a sham, argued Miss Dack. The authority had declined to take a vote of those present to get an impartial view of village sentiment, she said.

But in contrast, Mr Weall, felt the parish council had done the decent thing by applying for planning permission even though Barrow Borough Council had permitted development rights to carry out the work without it. Via the planning process, objectors were being given a proper democratic opportunity to air their views. Next Wednesday, the borough council's cabinet is being asked to support the plans, which are expected to be considered by its planning committee on May 4.

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