Melbourn's memorial stone could be moved after unanimous decision

PUBLISHED: 09:26 08 April 2019

The current position of the Kohima Stone in Melbourn. Picture: Peter Cleminson

The current position of the Kohima Stone in Melbourn. Picture: Peter Cleminson

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A memorial stone commemorating soldiers who fell during a Second World War battle may be moved after parish councillors decided its location was unsuitable.

The current position of the Kohima Stone in Melbourn. Picture: Peter Cleminson The current position of the Kohima Stone in Melbourn. Picture: Peter Cleminson

The current position of the Kohima Stone – which commemorates the Battle of Kohima in India in 1944 – is in Melbourn’s remembrance garden at 83 High Street.

But Melbourn parish councillors decided it could be moved, with Cambourne cited as a possible new location at the parish council meeting on Monday last week.

Una Cleminson, who has lived in the village for more than six years and has been visiting family there for the past 20, told the Crow: “I am totally shocked by the situation that they can take down the remembrance stone.

“I get the impression members of the parish council are not interested in remembrance, because they want to remove it from the village.

“I think it means a lot of the village.

“It gives us a prompt to remember – maybe we don’t have people from Melbourn who died at Kohima, but it makes you think about them and others who gave their lives in the war.

“I want to alert the people of Melbourn, and have this decision reversed.

“It would be better placed near the war memorial and must stay in the village – I feel very strongly about this.”

A report on the memorial stone stated that councillors voted unanimously to commission the stone, paying a deposit of 50 per cent in November 2016.

Concerns about the relevance of the stone to Melbourn were discussed at a parish council meeting in March 2017, when the council did not decide to cancel the commission.

The report also states that an indicative quote has been obtained – £2,020 to move the stone within the garden and more if the stone is sited elsewhere in the village.

As well as liaising with Cambourne Town Council, the parish council has also suggested giving the stone to the Royal British Legion – which provides lifelong support for the UK’s armed forces community.

When the Crow contacted the parish council about moving the stone, a spokesman said: “Melbourn Parish Council resolved to install the memorial stone in its present location at 83 High Street during the meeting of the full council held on April 24, 2017.

“The meeting was held in public, as are all duly constituted meetings of the council. Comments from residents and electors were invited.

“The memorial stone was eventually installed at 83 High Street in October 2018, following onsite logistical meetings between the contracted stone masons and councillors.

“Since the installation, the parish council has received significant representation from Melbourn residents objecting to the location of the stone, and it is for this reason that its location was bought back on to the meeting agendas for discussion. It has been an agenda item at every parish council meeting since November 2018.

Council resolved to relocate the memorial at its meeting held on February 25, and resolved to consult with the village as to a new location at its meeting on March 25. The consultation will be launched in the next few days, and the proposed options are in the draft minutes of the March meeting, which can be read on our website melbournparishcouncil.co.uk. Audio recordings of recent meetings are also available on our website.

“I do not comment on individual councillors’ stances, the council is a corporate entity and makes decisions as one. I will point out, however, that the vote to relocate the stone was unanimous.

“Additionally, all of the parish council meetings are public, with a clearly defined agenda that is produced in advance of meetings within a statutory timeframe. As always, residents of Melbourn are welcome to attend.”

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