Funding gap hits war memorial landscapes

Landscaping around war memorials is suffering because demand is rising so fast for grants to repair the ageing monuments, says the War Memorials Trust.

The restoration charity is receiving more applications than it can handle, with demand peaking in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday. The last soldiers who served in the 1914-18 war died this year and pollution is now damaging their memorials more than ever before.

Conservation officer Joanna Sanderson said: "We used to do enhancements but now we concentrate on applications for more serious problems and we can't help so much with enhancements and landscaping. One of the main issues is inscriptions that may have been engraved in the 1920s and are now weathering. Modern life takes over sites. Cars affect memorials because they were built when there were no cars but are now at busy junctions."

Successful grant applicants receive 50 per cent of the cost of repairs. Sanderson said that because of the recession and the age of monuments, more people are applying for grants.

A few landscaping projects are still receiving funding, including £3.9m from the Heritage Lottery Fund/Big Lottery Fund for restoration of Lichfield's Beacon Park, Garden of Remembrance and Minster Pool and Walk.

Work started there this month, with Chris Blandford Associates as lead consultant and Brownhill Hayward Brown working on the architectural and conservation elements of the project.

In Norwich town centre, the Memorial Gardens are getting a £2.6m facelift after a deal struck between Norwich City Council and the Government's housing and regeneration body the Homes & Communities Agency.

The next deadline for applications to the War Memorials Trust is 31 October.


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