September 23 2014 Latest news:
Sam Blewett, Reporter
Thursday, August 7, 2014
MP Jon Cruddas has demanded an explanation from Havering Council after a memorial was left hidden by scaffolding on the centenary of the First World War.
As millions of people on Monday marked the UK’s entrance into the war, residents were disgusted that the Rainham War Memorial was unfinished three months after the planned completion date.
The MP for Dagenham and Rainham contacted Havering Council’s chief executive this week demanding answers.
“This is just unacceptable,” he said. “I can’t believe that Havering Council has completely overlooked this historic week and what the war memorial in Rainham means to local residents.
“Many people whose relatives fought in the war have contacted me angry and rightfully upset that the memorial was boarded up.”
The council said that the delay to the restoration, funded by a Veolia North Thames grant, was due to the stones and features being unique.
But the council says due to the stones and features being unique, it has had to be delayed.
Mr Cruddas continued: “The inscription on war memorials reads ‘lest we forget’. Havering Council’s poor decision to leave the memorial inaccessible during this week took the opportunity to pay tribute away from Rainham residents.
“I will be pressuring the Council to make sure the memorial is available for Armistice Day in November.”
Cllr Melvin Wallace, cabinet member for culture, apologised for the delay.
He said: “We’re doing everything we can to ensure the memorial is restored to the highest standard as quickly as possible, and we’re sorry for the delay and upset this has caused.
“We tried to ensure it was finished for this week, but unfortunately, this memorial has taken longer, as many of the stones and features are so unique. We’ve called upon a number of specialist craftsmen and brick makers to get it done as soon as we can.”