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Mains War Memorial, Dundee - vandalised and abandoned!
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Adam Brown
Curator


Joined: 14 Dec 2006
Posts: 6612
Location: Edinburgh (From Sutherland)

PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

George

Thanks for the update. A disappointing situation for all concerned. The Forum member in question is also a regional volunteer for the War Memorials Trust and it is with that hat on he'll have contacted the WMT.

I think the best bet is for the member to get a chance to put his side over here.

Thanks

Adam
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George Armstrong Custer



Joined: 09 Jan 2007
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Adam, thank you for disassociating the SWMP from this unfortunate and infuriating action - I would have been surprised if this had taken place with the knowledge or sanction of the SWMP, who as an organisation have been entirely supportive of the local Dundee group's endeavours to have the Caird Park memorial restored and made safe.

I look forward to the reaction of the forum member concerned on the consequences of his actions.

George
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kinnethmont



Joined: 19 Dec 2006
Posts: 1677
Location: Aberdeenshire

PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

George

It is a great shame the efforts of locals to remedy the situation have been undermined. Why these people would object to proposals by / to Historic Scotland is beyond me.
_________________
Jim

If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

www.kinnethmont.co.uk
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George Armstrong Custer



Joined: 09 Jan 2007
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Jim, it's a great shame, indeed. Both the amalgamation of local interest groups and Duncee City Council are united that restoring the monument and leaving it in situ would only result in fresh damage being inflicted upon it. The choice of relocation is within sight of the original site, and therefore well within the original parish which erected the monument to its men. It retains the elements of grass and trees of the original setting, but vitally is a site which is far more secure from the potential for undisturbed and pervasive vandalism.

You can imagine the frustration locally, then, to find that someone sitting in an office in London, who has never been near the site or has any concept of local problems, composes a specious letter of objection to Historic Scotland granting permision for this move. Equally frustrating is that this third party was brought into the equation by someone well aware that the restoration and future safekeeping of the monument was being addressed by local interest groups in conjunction with the local authority.

George
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David McNay
Curator


Joined: 14 Dec 2006
Posts: 3602
Location: Lanarkshire, Scotland

PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a conversation with Ian Robertson this evening. In the course of the conversation we discussed what the current situation is regarding negotiations. I stated that, as an adminstrator of this forum I was happy that his group spoke on behlf of the members of this forum, and that any discussions or decisions I was happy to leave with him.
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spoons



Joined: 09 Jan 2007
Posts: 4417
Location: St John's Town of Dalry

PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I scarcely recognised myself from yesterday’s post but George confirmed it was me he was referring to in a PM. I too am upset that your efforts appear to be being undermined and I understand your frustrations. I am not a moderator of the project and have never represented myself as such; I am a local moderator for Dumfries and Galloway but that is not relevant in this context. I have never claimed to represent the project on this or any other matter. Finally, I have never photographed the memorial not sent any photographs of it to the War Memorials Trust or anyone else.

The War Memorials Trust have been involved with this memorial to some extent for over 18 months having sent details for the grant schemes to the local council in April 2009 and had then been in dialogue with Stewart Murdoch, Director of Leisure and Communities sometime after that.

I am a Regional Volunteer for the War Memorials Trust so am in regular contact with them on a number of matters but my only contact with them this year on this memorial was to draw their attention to the latest postings (which are in the public domain) in case they had not seen this already. If there had been any suggestion that this information should not be passed on, whether in the public domain or not, then I would not have done so.

The full text of my mail to them was “I am not directly involved with this but read an update on the Scottish War Memorials Project site that you might find interesting.

http://warmemscot.s4.bizhat.com/viewtopic.php?p=39853#39853” and the only reply I received was “Thank you for this information. I have now established that there is a current Listed Building Consent application for this memorial which is with Historic Scotland.

I shall have a look at the plans and make any comments felt necessary.”

My motive for contacting them was simply that, knowing that they were already involved and that the trust’s grant schemes require that approval of a grant is given before work begins, I wanted to ensure that those involved with this work received the benefit of any grants available.

I know nothing of any objection, nor have I been copied in on any correspondence so I can only suggest that you contact the professional conservation officer at the War Memorials Trust concerned.

Finally, I have not said what my personal position is regarding such decisions on renovations/moving etc. For the record I strongly believe that all decisions concerning the future of memorials should be taken by those local to the memorial and I support you in those aims.

My best wishes for all of those involved in this memorial and I hope you achieve your aims.

Regards

Paul
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Adam Brown
Curator


Joined: 14 Dec 2006
Posts: 6612
Location: Edinburgh (From Sutherland)

PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul

Thanks for setting the record straight about your involvement in all what has happened. Let's hope the WMT intervention helps focus HS minds since there seems to have been a lot of dithering going on at that end.

Kind regards

Adam
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George Armstrong Custer



Joined: 09 Jan 2007
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul, thank you for responding. I referred to you as a Moderator on the SWMP for the simple reason that you are listed as a Moderator on several sections of this forum, including the one in which this thread appears.

It ought to be apparent that I did not pull your name out of a hat so far your passing information to the WMT in your capacity as a 'regional volunteer' for them is concerned. That information was given to me - albeit reluctantly - by the WTM's London office when I phoned them yesterday to ask upon what basis they had lodged an objection to Dundee Council's application for planning consent from Historic Scotland.

As to the WMT being "involved with this memorial to some extent for over 18 months", that is news to me, I can assure you. Ian Robertson's group handed information on WMT grants and other potential funding sources to Dundee Council at our initial meeting with them in April last year. If the WMT sent duplicate details on their own initiative, then so far as I am aware that has been the sum total of their "involvement" over the past 18 months. As to why they have suddenly stirred themselves to write a letter of objection to the plans for the memorial agreed between the coalition of local interest groups and Dundee Council, their London office was clear - they acted following information received from you. They were explicit that whilst they had not visited Dundee, you as their 'regional volunteer' had. They also said that, in the absence of having visited the site themselves, their opinions were based upon information and photos sourced from you. Whether that is photos you sent them or which you linked them to on the internet is unclear - but you, as their named Regional Volunteer, were identified as the source.

Further, I was informed over the phone by Historic Scotland (also yesterday) that the War Memorials Trust had lodged an objection with them to the plans proposed by Dundee Council. I responded that, whatever the London-based WMT were saying, the Scottish War Memorials Project was one of the interested parties for whom our group spoke when we supported the moving and restoration of the memorial. I was then told that the SWMP seemed to be talking at cross purposes, as Historic Scotland had a note that the SWMP also objected to the memorial being moved. One can only assume that your connection with the SWMP has been mentioned to Historic Scotland by the War Memorials Trust either at the time or subsequent to them submitting their objection to the memorial being moved. Whether or not it was your intent for this to happen, these are the facts that the WMT and Historic Scotland are founding decisions on. If nothing else, it surely highlights the potential conflict of interest between your role as 'regional volunteer' for the London-based WMT charity, and the SWMP and its support for local groups like Ian Robertson's. Ian Robertson has already outlined on this thread how out of touch the Historic Scotland official dealing with this is with the realities of the situation of the Dundee memorial, and how poorly briefed she was on key aspects - not to mention her sluggish response to Dundee Council's planning permission application. We now have concerns from what I was told yesterday that the lady from Historic Scotland and the lady from the War Memorials Trust are working as a team to justify a refusal for granting the planning permission sought for the memorial. This is surely inappropriate, as the WMT are merely one interested party who have exercised their right to lodge an objection. Given that Dundee Council did not see fit to apply for one of their grants, and instead allocated funds for the memorial themselves, the sudden intrusion of the WMT at this late stage is serving no useful purpose. Indeed, it looks set to scupper the whole project which some of us have worked towards for the past 18 months. Whether you intended to or not, you have played a pivotal part in this in your role as the WMT's 'regional volunteer.'

If, as you say, you have supplied no opinion or other information on the state of the Mains monument, or on the specific local threats to it, or on whether it could safely be left in situ, then it would appear that, in light of the fact that they admit to not having visited the site themselves, the War Memorials Trust are basing their objection on no first-hand evidence specific to the Mains memorial or its location at all. In which case perhaps, as their 'regional volunteer', you could invite them to withdraw their objection to the plans for the memorial, which they claim is based, in part, upon your activities on site on their behalf.

George
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Ian Robertson



Joined: 20 Apr 2009
Posts: 24
Location: Broughty Ferry

PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks to George for his succinct summation of the happenings of the past few days. I just have the following to add.
Not only does the objection raised by the WMT jeopardise the proposed re-location of the memorial, it also raises the question of whether the memorial will ever be renovated. Anyone who has seen it will know that large parts of the stonework are weathered and the tablets with the names of the 26 men commemorated are broken and many of the names are now missing.Yet this does not seem to bother either the WMT representative that George spoke to or Judith Roebuck of Historic Scotland. As Ms Roebuck seems to inhabit a world where the asthetic rather than the practical seems to take precedence perhaps I shouldn't be so surprised but I would have thought that an organisation that calls itself "The War Memorial Trust" would be concerned that the memorial was not now serving the function for which it was originally erected.
Paul, going by your response to George's comments you do not accept that you made the objections to the council's application that are attributed to you by the WMT representative in London. Personally, if that were me it would worry me a great deal and I would be having a serious word with them.
In the 12 or so meeting that I have had regarding this memorial and which have been with, amongst others, Stewart Murdoch, Director of Parks and Leisure, Gary Robertson, Director of Parks, Bob Duncan council convenor, and about another 9 council representatives from the legal, estates, architecture, works, conservation, landscaping and planning departments I have seldom failed to mention that we were talking on behalf of the SWMP. Likewise in many of the 202 (at the last count) e-mails that I have sent the initials SMWP have been included. To have people query whether we actually do speak for the members of this forum on this subject after all the references I have made to it over the past 18 months makes me look pretty foolish and throws into doubt our qualification to speak for any of the other groups that we represent. To say that I was hacked off would be a massive understatement.
Paul, if you do not personally object to the council's plans then I would appreciate if you could contact WMT and ask why they had sent in an objection to Historic Scotland. If it was based solely on a misunderstanding of your position then I would be obliged if you could persuade them to withdraw it. If they have an objection based on something else all together then I would be interested to learn what it is.

regards

Ian
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WMT Conservation Team



Joined: 24 Sep 2009
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 12:51 pm    Post subject: War Memorials Trust Reply with quote

Following the recent posts regarding the Mains war memorial in Dundee I am responding on behalf of War Memorials Trust. We are making a simple statement on this public forum outlining our involvement in this case but do not intend to enter into an ongoing debate. We are happy to discuss any issues directly with anyone concerned as we do with any war memorial case.

I would like to start by saying that the Trust wants to see this war memorial appropriately protected and preserved. Like everyone else we are appalled that the memorial has got into this state. We would like to work positively with everyone involved to ensure an appropriate solution. We fully understand the emotions involved and recognise that not everyone is going to agree on everything. But we feel that we have a contribution to make to this debate due to our experience and understanding of war memorial issues and hope that this contribution will be respected, if not necessarily accepted.

War Memorials Trust would like first to agree entirely with Paul’s posting of 20th October in which he outlines the extent of his involvement with this case. He has provided us with links to this site of posts which he thought we might be interested in but has neither visited the site nor taken photos for us. The Trust asks our Regional Volunteers to let us know about any war memorial issues they come across and our qualified and experienced Conservation Officers then respond as appropriate in line with the Trust’s aims, objectives and experience. We greatly appreciate Paul’s efforts assisting the Trust in Scotland and would like to thank him for his help across the country.

In relation to the case of the Caird Park war memorial the Trust was first aware of this case in April 2009 through a link to this forum. We have also picked up information since then from other sources including media coverage. We have been in regular contact with the Council and have offered our advice and also highlighted the possibility of assistance from our grant schemes.

As with all other cases where we are aware of a planning application affecting a war memorial the Trust has submitted its comments. We respect the principle that the local community should decide what happens to their war memorial, therefore we merely make our recommendations based on our experience and expertise dealing with war memorial issues every day. We have a set of conservation principles which we apply to all cases and this includes the issue of relocation. We believe relocation should be a last resort after all other options have been tried because moving a memorial could damage it (we have been advised that in this case the stone is already damaged and friable which raises alarm bells), because often the site chosen by those who erected the memorial has a significance which should be respected and that there are a lot of alternative options which should be tried before taking the most drastic step of moving a memorial. More information about these principles and a number of helpsheets produced by the Trust in relation to preventing theft and vandalism and relocation can be viewed at www.warmemorials.org/a-z.

As you are likely to be aware the comments on the planning application can be obtained through a Freedom of Information request from Historic Scotland. However, as we have no issue with disclosing what we said we have reproduced the text below. You will note that the comments do not include any mention of an objection. We have tried to flag up to those making the decision some points of consideration based on our extensive experience in these matters, which relates primarily to the condition of the structure. We have also made recommendations of ways to try to address the vandalism in situ and have produced guidance to try and assist cases exactly like this one.

War Memorials Trust was established as the national charity for the protection and conservation of war memorials in the UK in 1997. Since then we have become a focal point for conservation issues and developed our expertise in this area. We remain a small organisation, with a team of four staff, which means, with 100,000 war memorials across the UK, we rarely have the opportunity to make site visits and instead rely on the information sent to us by the public or picked up from the media or planning applications. We would dearly love to have the resources to be able to be more proactive but our funds do not allow us at this time. We are continuing our efforts to raise awareness and identify new members and supporters to enable us to secure more funds to help us develop our work to protect and conserve the UK’s war memorials.

Kind regards
Frances Moreton
Director

P.S. War Memorials Trust can be contacted at:
2nd Floor, 42a Buckingham Palace Road London SW1W 0RE
My direct line is 020 7834 0200 or to speak to the Conservation Team call 020 7233 7356
You can email frances@warmemorials.org or conservation@warmemorials.org
Or visist www.warmemorials.org


Our planning application comments as sent by email on 20th October 2010:

“War Memorials Trust has been made aware that there is a current Listed Building Consent Application to relocate the war memorial in Caird Park. Having looked at the application documents I would like to make the following observations.

War Memorials Trust recommends that relocation of a memorial is approached as a last resort where other measures have been shown to be ineffective. This is due to the risk posed to the memorial with regards to damage and loss through the process of relocation. Additionally to this we feel that it is preferable to maintain memorials in their original settings, where at all possible, as this reflects the wishes of those who erected them and often has a link with those commemorated.

I note that in this case the memorial is subject to vandalism in the form of graffiti. We would recommend that as an initial step effort is made to address this issue in situ. I note that in the method statement there is mention of providing fencing. This would be our preferred option as it has been shown to be successful in other locations. I do not feel that these need to be seen as producing a barrier that will stop the enjoyment of the memorial by those that wish to view it. Any railings do not have to be of a considerable height and should be visually permeable in nature. There are often local historic examples that would be appropriate to provide a level of protection whilst maintaining visibility. Consideration should also be given to providing a gate within the railings that can be opened for remembrance services, for anyone wishing to undertake a closer inspection or, if appropriate, on a daily basis during times where the risk of vandalism is less.

Finally I note that concern has been expressed over the visibility of the current location and that this has caused the memorial to be more vulnerable to vandalism. I would like to take this opportunity to draw to your attention the helpsheet attached that the Trust has produced jointly with Historic Scotland and English Heritage. This outlines ways in which surveillance of vulnerable war memorials may be improved.

I hope that you find the above information helpful when considering this application.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.”
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Ian Robertson



Joined: 20 Apr 2009
Posts: 24
Location: Broughty Ferry

PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you don't want to enter into a debate you shouldn't make a post on a public forum. You say that you haven't objected to the proposal but only made a recommendation. How can you make a recommendation without local knowledge? You confirm that Paul hasn't attended the site and I'd be surprised, given your location, if you have. Has one of your "Qualified and Experienced Conservation officers" been to site and if so what are his particular recommendations given the conditions particular to this memorial's situation?
From reading your post it would seem that most of your information has come from this particular thread and various snippets in the papers. Given that this thread was locked for about 18 months and that most of the press involvement was instigated by our group then I would have to say that your "regular contact" with the council has been minimal at best. If you have been reading this thread from April 2009 then you would have known that there were on going discussions with the council. Why not then, get your representative to e-mail the modorators of the forum with your concerns which they could have relayed on to us and which we could have taken on board. Do you really think that the fragility of the memorial hadn't been given any thought? That was one of the reasons the Council conservation officer was called into the discussions. Do you think that we just thought we would get the memorial moved for the sheer hell of it? Believe me if we thought there was a chance it survive unmolested in its current position we would have been happy to leave it where it is. THe memorial is located across from a large housing estate and it , and the nearby castle, are under constant attack from vandals. Added to which the adjacent park hosts a carnival once or twice a year which brings its own challenges. The decision was taken after careful consideration knowing the area in which it is situated. After we originally complained to the council workmen were dispatch to clean it up. They made a fair job but only two weeks later it was covered in slogans in blue spray paint. Since the time of the initial complaint the stone tablets with the names of the men have been further damaged and now some of the names are missing altogether. As for funding the repairs we had an agreement from the council that they had the money in place, this year, to cover the costs so your offer of a grant was completely superfluous. Will your organisation cover all the costs of the memorial's renovation if the council find that after this financial year and impending swingeing cuts in funding that they there is no money available?
The thing that annoys me most about this is not that our efforts of 18 months been have been undermined but you have allowed yourselves to be used by Historic Scotland in order to cover their lack of action. In fact if you read my previous posts it is not that we haven't had the decision we want that has annoyed us but rather that we still have had no decision at all. Another harsh winter could see this structure past saving . If, in the end, it is decided that the memorial can't be moved then as long as it is renovated we will accept this; bearing in mind that the minute that it is damaged or vandalised again we will be calling the responsible parties to public account.
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George Armstrong Custer



Joined: 09 Jan 2007
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really do despair. Having read Ms Moreton's post here, and subsequently spoken with her on the telephone a short time ago, I'd like to make a few observations. Firstly, however, I'd note that Ms Moreton's implication that those who disagree with the basis of the WMT's intervention are doing so based on "emotion" rather than facts strikes me as a rather patronising attempt to marginalise those arguments which her group disagrees with.

1/ I phoned the WMT yesterday after being informed by Judith Roebuck of Historic Scotland that an objection to Dundee Council's planning application had been received from the WMT. I was further informed by Ms Roebuck that in her opinion Dundee Council’s planning application was not adequately filled in to cover any remedial work . Ms Roebuck was therefore treating the application merely as seeking permission to move the monument. Yet she had not been in touch with the Council since receiving their application to point this out. In other words, in the event that permission was given, it would only be for moving the memorial. A second application would need to be submitted to gain permission to carry out the essential restorative and conservation work. This beggars belief – particularly as Ms Roebuck was made well aware during her site visit to the memorial in April that the jointly agreed proposal from Dundee Council and the coalition of interest groups under Ian Robertson was for the monument to be restored and moved to a suitable safer site nearby. What beggared belief even more, however, was Ms Roebuck telling me that the monument would better be left in its current state but conserved to prevent further deterioration. When I pointed out that the purpose of a local war memorial, above all other considerations, was to memorialize the names of the local dead service personnel, and that the name panels on the Mains memorial were all but gone, she responded that “But these are recorded elsewhere.”

2/ When I spoke with Ms Moreton's colleague at the WMT yesterday, I asked upon what basis the WMT had felt able to object to the Mains memorial being moved. Had the WMT, for instance, inspected the site and the surrounding locale? I was told that, no, the London-based writer of the objection had not visited Dundee, but that the WMT had regional volunteers and that one of those had visited the site on their behalf. When I asked who their regional volunteer was, this was ignored and the conversation moved on. Towards the end of what was a 40 minute conversation, I again asked who the regional volunteer was and was eventually informed that it was a Paul Goodwin. Mr Goodwin has confirmed on this thread his involvement with the WMT as a regional volunteer. Ms Moreton's colleague whom I spoke to yesterday was the author of the objection sent in to Historic Scotland. She also informed me that Judith Roebuck from HS had been on the phone to her in the short time between my speaking to Ms Roebuck and my calling the WMT. Both Ms Roebuck and the WMT had then each phoned Dundee City Council (who have been trying to get a response on the planning application from Ms Roebuck for weeks). Ms Moreton's colleague at the WMT did not dispute, and indeed specifically confirmed, the description of their submission to Historic Scotland as being in the nature of an “objection” to planning permission - the phrase which Ms Roebuck had used to me.

3/ Imagine my surprise, then, to be told by Ms Moreton that her colleague did not tell me yesterday that Mr Goodwin had visited the Dundee memorial on their behalf recently, and that my impression that she had said that must have been a "misunderstanding". I'd just like to state that that is emphatically not the case. Mr Goodwin, though not initially named, was brought into the equation by Ms Moreton’s colleague when I expressed surprise that she (the colleague) could have written the objection to planning permission without having visited the memorial and its environs. I was explicitly informed that a regional volunteer had visited the site. Mr Goodwin has stated here that “I strongly believe that all decisions concerning the future of memorials should be taken by those local to the memorial and I support you in those aims”. Perhaps he might want to reconsider his association with a tiny organization which arrogantly presumes that it knows better than local opinion, over which it rides rough-shod with an automatic and uninformed blanket application of a single in-house ideology to all war memorials.

4/ When I asked Ms Moreton’s colleague yesterday to comment on Ms Roebuck’s assertion that the name panels being restored was not essential as the names were listed elsewhere, she stated that that was essentially true, but that the WMT would want any restoration anyway to incorporate the existing fragments of the original name panels. Anyone who has actually visited the monument recently, rather than browsing pictures online from an office in London, will be painfully aware that much of the name panels resemble a fragile jigsaw puzzle from which most of the pieces are missing. It has deteriorated markedly in that respect from the last pictures posted here. Anyone seeing it would find Ms Moreton’s colleague’s comments ludicrous. The panels need to be replaced in the style and fabric of the originals. I didn’t bring this issue up with Ms Moreton when I spoke with her this afternoon – but no doubt she’d have told me I’d “misunderstood” that too.

5/ I was further surprised when Ms Moreton informed me that the WMT submission to Historic Scotland was not an "objection" to planning permission but "recommendations" based upon the experience of the WMT. I am not sure what the extent of that experience is, as Ms Moreton tells me the WMT is run by four people in an office in London who NEVER visit war memorials for which they submit opinions to planning applications which are brought to their attention. Having denied that her colleague did not tell me that their regional volunteer had visited the site of the Dundee memorial, Ms Moreton went on to confirm that the sole basis of their knowledge of the Dundee memorial and the environment which it is adjacent to comes from posts on this thread, and a couple of newspaper reports. The rest, she tells me, comes from their extensive experience of memorials in exactly the same condition.

6/ The dangers of the WMT applying a standard pro forma response, without leaving their office, to each and every planning permission application which is brought to their attention are obvious. An automatic default response of objecting to any application to move a war memorial may have merit where a local authority attempts to do so without public consultation and without local support, and for perhaps inappropriate reasons. Neither applies in the particular case of the Dundee memorial. The WMT, however, appears to deal in generalities regardless of the particular circumstances of any memorial application.

7/ Ms Moreton denies any improper collusion between her colleague who submitted the WMT objection to Historic Scotland, and Historic Scotland's case officer who is minded to deny planning permission. Yet Ms Moreton could give me no convincing explanation for the flurry of phone calls between Ms Roebuck, the WMT and both of these parties to Dundee Council which took place immediately following my phone call to Ms Roebuck yesterday.

8/ The hard facts are that Dundee Council have come up with a positive proposal to restore the badly damaged and vulnerable memorial. These proposals have the full support of a coalition of interested parties including, amongst others, The Black Watch Association, The Scottish War Memorials Project, The Western Front Association, The Douglas Haig Fellowship, The Dundee Courier & Advertiser. To these must be added lastly - but by no means least - the residents of Dundee, amongst whom are many of the descendants of those named on this local memorial. Dundee Council have allocated the funds to carry out the necessary remedial work to return it to its intended function as a permanent memorial to the men whose names have currently largely disappeared from it. It is then intended to move it to a safer location which is little more than a stone's throw from its current position, squarely within the parish of Mains, and which retains the features of grassland and trees of the original site. But the funds allocated to do this are from this year's Council budget. They cannot be carried over into the new financial year for this purpose if not spent. And in the current climate of harsh austerity in local and national government spending the likelihood of projects such as this attaining priority status in the new financial year are exceedingly poor. Time, then, was of the essence. Following the site visit by Judith Roebuck in April, Dundee Council hoped to get the monument restored and carefully moved to its safe location in time for the anniversary of Loos on 25 September. Failing that, the target was 11 November. I tried to get this point over to both Historic Scotland and the WMT yesterday, but made little impression. I told Judith Roebuck that her slow response to Dundee Council, combined with her obtuse desire not to move the monument in the face of all the local evidence requiring this risked the loss of any funding from the Council. This may be what prompted her call to the WMT after I'd come off the phone, for following that call the WMT got on to Dundee Council about the grants they have. Yet as Ms Moreton's colleague agreed when I spoke to her yesterday, the WMT grant would only be a % of the sum needed and would be dependent upon the rest of the funding being in place to go ahead with the work. In other words, if the funding for the whole job currently put in place by Dundee Council is lost after the end of the financial year, then the likelihood of the work being done in the current economic climate is virtually zero. Yet Historic Scotland have not moved on processing the required planning permission for a monument which, ironically, was listed at the request of the amalgamation of local groups supporting the Council's proposals. In retrospect getting Historic Scotland to list the monument, though we lobbied for that with the best of intentions, was in fact our biggest mistake. Had we not done so, the Mains memorial would have been fully restored and replendent in its adjacent new location by now. Now, with the addition of the WMT's intervention, the chances of planning permission being denied look increased - certainly if the phone calls between the WMT and Historic Scotland yesterday after I became aware of what was going on are anything to go by.

9/It seems to me that if they don't have the financial wherewithal to investigate fully (by site visits, local enquires etc,) the circumstances which are peculiar to specific threatened war memorials, then perhaps the War Memorials Trust should restrict their intervention to those which are within reach of their office in London. The name 'The War Memorials Trust' sounds impressive. As does a post here signed by its 'Director'. However, given the reality of a cash-strapped operation staffed by four people in London, which does not do field visits, nor, apparently, has regional volunteers who do so on their behalf, then the credibility of any objection by the WMT to proposals by a local community and its local authority to resolve the specific issues relating to a local war memorial need to be seriously questioned. Ian Robertson and myself will be doing, inter alia, precisely that at a meeting with Ms Roebuck's superiors at Historic Scotland next Thursday.

George
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George Armstrong Custer



Joined: 09 Jan 2007
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ian Robertson wrote:
If you don't want to enter into a debate you shouldn't make a post on a public forum.


Ian, it gives me no absolutely pleasure to say this, but having been involved in this project to save the Mains memorial for the past 18 months, the inescapable conclusion is that the best advice I could give to any local groups in a similar situation is: Keep Historic Scotland and private charities like the War Memorials Trust out of it. Sadly, such organisations should be the natural ally of campaigns like the one we've been involved in to save the Mains monument. Maybe the kindest thing that could be said for them is that perhaps it is not the organisations per se which are not user friendly to local campaigns like ours, in which the local authority and the local campaign group are happily united in their goal and the means of achieving it, but the attitudes of the ladies who hold decision-making positions within them.

George
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dalblair



Joined: 26 Aug 2010
Posts: 416
Location: coupar angus

PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This debacle defies description!Any one with any local knowledge of Dundee knows that this is the only solution and to their great credit the Council agrees.Sadly my own experience with HS field officers means that i am not surprised at all at their attitude.I hope that your meeting with their superiors goes well but if not i suggest that you enlist the Courier to expose both them and WMT for their intransigence and stupidity.
Good luck.
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kinnethmont



Joined: 19 Dec 2006
Posts: 1677
Location: Aberdeenshire

PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Intriguing as this is becoming and given that all interested local parties were in agreement with the Council on a way forward, WMT should have kept out of it altogether. Their role in this case simply confirms my view elsewhere on the Forum that they should only involve themselves when all other avenues are firmly closed. As far as I know they originally had no interest in Scotland but have started to exert their influence over the border due to a fairly recent “ alliance of sorts “ with Historic Scotland involving their grants.

Quote:
I was then told that the SWMP seemed to be talking at cross purposes, as Historic Scotland had a note that the SWMP also objected to the memorial being moved.

This is an unfortunate situation, but I cannot see that the views of the SWMP ( or those in charge of it opining for the members ) would carry any weight at all in the planning process, with Historic Scotland or with the Council. It is a website / Forum comprising 868 members, of which only a small fraction are regularly active. Has anything been done to retract this “ alleged “ objection?
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Jim

If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

www.kinnethmont.co.uk
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