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War memorial group hits its fund-raising target for new monument
CAMPAIGNERS for a new war memorial in Chester-le-Street have hit their fund-raising target.
Now, the site of the new cenotaph has to be decided.
The Chester-le-Street District War Memorial already has planning permission for a location at Bridge End, opposite the town’s Market Place.
But there is growing support for the monument to be sited in Market Place in the footprint of the recently-demolished arch artwork.
If technical surveys are satisfactory, the group will submit a new planning application to Durham County Council. Group chairman Jim Carroll said: “We now have the funding for the war memorial to be built, regardless of which site it is on.
“I am still waiting for the survey to be carried out on the market square foundations to see if they are suitable for the war memorial.
“If they are, the war memorial will be built there subject to the approval of a separate planning application. “If we don’t get permission to build on the market square we fall back on the Bridge End site.
The group has raised £63,573 from a variety of sources including grant-giving organisations, direct fund-raising and contributions from local councillors’ neighbourhood budgets.
Mr Carroll is hoping that the group will be able to claim back the VAT it will pay on the work, which would pay for ten years maintenance and is hoping that the project will be completed by the end of April/early May. “Hopefully it will move rapidly forward with the funding definitely being in situ to meet the bills.
“I couldn’t issue the contracts willy nilly, not knowing if I would get the funding.
Mr Carroll said he was pleased with the progress made since the group was formed in July 2011 following the demise of a previous war memorial association. “We have a group of people who wanted to get the job done rather than arguing about getting the job done,’’ he said.
The town’s existing war memorial, a small obelisk opposite the parish church is considered by many people to be unsuitable.
The group hopes the new memorial will include the names of the local dead of all conflicts since World War One.
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