Anger as Ashfield's cenotaphs will stay dirty for Remembrance Day

"We have spent six months decorating for the centenary and the council is not going to clean the war memorials" says an Ashfield councillor after it was revealed that the cenotaphs will not be cleaned for the centenary of the First World War.

Councillor Lee Anderson councillor for Huthwaite is speaking out after Ashfield District Council revealed it would not be cleaning war memorials for the centenary.

Sutton's 'dirty war memorial'

Sutton's 'dirty war memorial'

He said: "Myself and local volunteers have taken the lead in all the preparations including the road closure for the parade. The only thing we asked of ADC was to ensure our Cenotaph was cleaned up.

"Last October I asked the council to clean them and I asked every month since then and they guaranteed it would be done.

"The council officers should hang their heads in shame.

"They have had a hundred years to think about it and be prepared.

"Residents' are up in arms - we have even offered to clean them and so has a professional cleaner.

"Ashfield District Council is a disgrace if they don't get them cleaned."

The council has said it will clean around the cenotaphs for Remembrance Sunday.

Robert Mitchell, Chief Executive of Ashfield District Council says “The Council’s original plan was to carry out the cleaning of the war memorials in time for the end of WW1 centenary celebrations.

"This is not about the cost, we have the money available, however, following advice from the War Memorials Trust, we have taken the decision to go with a legacy based approach. The advice issued by the Trust is not just about Ashfield, but about all war memorials nationally.

"Their clear advice is don’t clean, unless the dirt is causing the damage (ie industrial pollution). After taking professional advice, there are other levels of restoration required first, for example restoration of lettering, cracks in the stonework and mortaring.

“Previously communities have taken it upon themselves to clean the war memorials, which has unfortunately led to irreparable damage in some cases.

"Some of the memorials are made of porous stone, which when cleaned with harsh, abrasive chemicals causes them to begin to disintegrate from the inside out.

"All of them are fragile and need to be treated with professional care. In order for them to be preserved for the future and to minimise the risk of irreparable damage we have decided to follow the advice of the War Memorials Trust and not clean the memorials this year; but instead, honour the legacy of fallen by embarking on a much longer term and sustainable programme of conversation. We are looking to bring forward a programme of survey and repair works, and will be working with the War Memorials Trust and Royal British Legion on this.”