Councillors engaged in an emotive debate about whether a Berkshire village’s war memorial should be moved or not.

Finchampstead Parish Council submitted plans to relocate its war memorial, a stone cross, from its current location at the junction of Jubilee Road and Rectory Hill to the Memorial Park.

Parish councillor representative of the Lower Wokingham ward Graham Jukes, arguing on its  behalf, said:  “The site is extremely dangerous to visit in its current location. It is so dangerous that the parish council cannot recruit contractors to maintain the site.

“The community should be able to “reflect in safety on the sacrifices made by the many.”

A majority of decision makers on Wokingham Borough Council’s planning committee agreed with his view.

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Councillor Rebecca Margetts (Conservative, Finchampstead South) said:  “The proposal to remove this memorial is a very emotive subject, an extremely important issue.

“As a resident, you are not able to walk to this memorial. I’ve got children who’ve never been able to go up to it.”

Yet there were concerns about removing the cross from its original intended location, where it has stood since 1920.

Finchampstead resident  Ian Adnams, who opposed the relocation, argued that its current site, where it “stands tall and proud” is where is should remain.

He added that the cross serves as a waymark, which helps drivers to be aware of a difficult or dangerous spot or an intersection – which will be lost once it is removed.

Cllr Pauline Jorgensen (Conservative, Hillside) said:  “I’m torn because that position was selected by people who were directly affected by the First World War.

“I’m very reluctant to see it moved like a piece of street furniture to a more convenient location. I’m very very torn.”

However, cllr Jukes argued that the Jubillee Road junction sees 11,000 traffic movements per day, making it difficult for people to reflect at the memorial.

Cllr Angus Ross (Conservative, Wokingham Without) said: “I’ve never seen anybody, other than on Remembrance Sunday, risk their selves to cross the road to go and look at it. It’s not something I would entertain lightly.”

The principle of the relocation (plan reference 213903) was approved by eight votes, with cllr Jorgensen voting against it.

The structure will lose Grade II listed status as a result of its removal.

Then, its proposed placement in Finchampstead Memorial Park was discussed.

Bracknell News: The site where the memorial will be relocated to. The site where the memorial will be relocated to.

Mr Adnams suggested that the cross be put at St James Church instead.

But cllr Gary Cowan (Independent, Arborfield) argued that the relocation of the Arborfield memorial cross had been successful, and the success could be repeated in Finchampstead.

Furthermore, councillor Bill Soanne (Conservative, Loddon) argued that a memorial park is the best location for the cross, speaking of the success of Woodley’s war memorial, which was established in 2014.

“We have a war memorial in Woodley, we had discussions and it was sited in the aptly named memorial ground.

“Each year, on Remembrance Day, we are attracting in excess of 200-250 people.

“That’s made up with schools, youth groups, members of the public.

“People congregate there at any time during the year.

“You wouldn’t be able to do that where this memorial is, and I think that’s a great shame, so I think this is a good move.”

In the vote for its move to the Memorial Park (plan reference  213927), eight councillors voted for it and cllr Jorgensen voted against it.

The decision on the relocation was made yesterday (Wednesday, February 9).