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Andover War Memorial – Is It Time for a Referendum?

Once again the siting of the Andover War Memorial is making news in Andover as discussions take place as to whether it should stay at its current location at St Mary's or be moved to it original location in front of the Guildhall. [Read more...]

Once again the siting of the Andover War Memorial is making news in Andover as discussions between groups for and against the move take place as to whether it should stay at its current location at St Mary’s or be moved to it original location in front of the Guildhall.

A petition of 7,000 signatures is reported to have been gathered for moving it back in front of the Guildhall however in a letter to the Andover Advertiser, TVBC leader Ian Carr said “We must ensure that the vocal few do not force their opinion on the masses.

Andover War Memorial
Andover War Memorial

Polls run in the Andover Advertiser have put public opinion at fairly evenly split as did a council debate in 2011 however these were limited by those with internet access and those who could attend the meeting. Has the time now come to ask all the residents of the town and finally to resolve it?

Various reasons have been put forward as to why it was moved also why it should stay in St Mary’s and others on why it should be moved back.

Craig Fisher has looked into why it was moved and said: “Andover Borough Council wanted to extend the ground floor of Guildhall to provide a dance hall for the town and the memorial was in the way. At the same time they also had a complaint from the Old Comrades Association about market traders stacking boxes on the plinth on market days – so instead of sorting out the market traders, they moved the memorial!

Andover War Memorial
View from the War Memorial

The stone memorial which dates from 1920 was originally positioned in front of the Guildhall. It was moved to its present position in the Garden of Remembrance at the churchyard in 1956 when a second memorial dedicated to the fallen of the Second World War was erected.

The memorial was designed by the architect Herbert Cowley and constructed by Harry Page at the Angel Yard Works in Andover. The memorial bears the name of 213 men who fell in the Great War and, unusually, the date reads 1914-1920. This reflects the service of the Hampshire Regiment in Murmansk in Russia after the official end of the First World War, where they saw action with anti-Bolshevik forces.

What are your views? Leave your comments below.

Andover Guildhall
Andover war Memorial – Back Where It Came From?
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  • Councillor Carr is woefully out of touch with the people of Andover.

    This is hardly surprising as he spends a huge amount of time each year on holiday, in fact as I write he is on yet another 2 week holiday, and he plans to spend the last 2 months of the year visiting Australia.

    Many local residents have complained to me that Councillor Carr doesn’t represent value for money. I totally agree with this sentiment, and as most of you will be aware, I have called for his resignation. It is clear that he has no intention of going, why should he when he can carry on enjoying this extremely lucrative gravy train that he is on. Councillor Carr has selective hearing.

    Councillor Carr said “we must ensure that the vocal few do not force their opinions on the masses”. Councillor Carr knows full well that we have over 7000 signatures requesting that the memorial is moved back to its original place. Does Councilor Carr really consider that 7000 signatures in this town is a few? Personally I find him to be othe arrogant and lazy.

    I have correspondence outstanding with him which is now over a month old and does not look like getting answered any time soon. I have called for his resignation and if he had any honour, he would go. However, Councillor Carr is lacking in honour, integrity and civic duty. Only this morning I was reminded by a resident of the time he had to be restrained from attacking an old lady by his own officers. I look upon his letter to Liz Ferla in the Andover Advertiser this week with a heavy heart.

    It is my ambition that the councillors of this town should be there to serve the residents, not the other way around. Please go Councillor Carr and allow this town to breathe once again.

    • Thank you for the support Tony. Fully intend to raise a grievance against Councillor Carr. Sadly I am not the only female he has reacted to, there are 3 that I know of. I will send the information to the Chief Exec. Hopefully he is more honourable!

  • Surely this is a decision for town planners? I am also sure they would come to the decision that doing this will clutter up the current “open plan” layout of the town center and wouldnt support a relocation.

  • I’ve heard some silly things said about the town’s war memorial, but that is the first time I’ve ever heard it referred to as “clutter”. Awful thing to say about such an important part of Andover’s history. It demonstrates just how little some people know, or care, about the memorial and what it represents, and why it should be returned to the high street 🙁

  • Can we just let this rest, we’ve been down this road so many times. It’s in the right place, a place of reflection… The town centre is not exacly a place of reflection. I can just see hoards of people who care nothing for what it stands for piling out of the local pubs, litter everywhere and the odd graffiti marks by our local youths…… Leave it where it is and perhaps consider a plaque possibly mounted on the wall of our Guildhall…. Also while I’m at it, can we stop this constant point point scoring it’s getting rather boring, stick to the point in hand.

    • Exactly, just because people may not want it in the town center that doesn’t mean they don’t respect the sacrifice that others have made. The guildhall is a beautiful building and iconic to Andover town center. With the memorial moved In front of the guildhall, it would not only look out of place but would obscure the buildings attractive facade. The move would also be costly, money would be better spent else where even put towards the maintenance costs of its current location. It’s in a good spot, has anybody sought to ask as to why it was relocated in the first place?

      • It was relocated because the council wanted to extend the ground floor of the Guildhall, which would have ruined that facade you are talking about! Luckily, it did not happen, but by then it was too late, the memorial and the men and the history it represents had been banished from sight. The sooner it is back where it should be the better.

        As for looking out of place, check out pictures of the two together It was designed to match architecturally the Guildhall, not the flint knappping of the church.

        Happy for everyone to have an opinion, but need to remember this campaign is about facts, not opinion.

        • Not neccesarely ruin the facade, that would all depend on the ability of the architect employed to do that job, and even it would come down to a matter of opinion.

          You are obviously very passionate about this Mark but don’t get blinkered by the thought that the only way people can show their appreciation and respect is by moving its location. Is your argument that it has to go back to its original spot or just that it is returned to the town center. What about locating it at the other end of town near bridge street?

          • The point is just to return the memorial to where the people who lost sons, brothers and fathers and who paid for it to be erected outside the Guildhall placed it and wanted it to be seen. Putting it somewhere else in the high street would be as bad as putting it in the churchyard. But as you’ve asked, I think it would look good at the bottom of the high street, looking up towards the Guildhall. The parade could march up Bridge Street for the Remembrance Day Service and it satisfies the need for a town centre location. But that’s just my opinion and there are as many of those as there are people in the town. Can you imagine putting it there and then in 50 years there is a campaign to get it relocated again to outside the Guildhall? Ha, we’d be viewed as no better than Andover Borough Council in the 1950s. The only option with any real credence, based on the facts at hand, is to put it back where it was.

  • What’s with the “place of reflection”? The memorial was designed to be seen in a busy high street, not hidden away. Graffiti? Only place a war memorial has ever been graffitied in Andover is in the churchyard. And let’s not forget that it only needed protective railings AFTER it was moved. One thing you can say about the council and the high street, there ain’t no litter!

  • It does tend to come down to a matter of opinion. While I appreciate that some people would like to see the return of the memorial to it’s former position in front of the Guildhall, there are just as many that appreciate where it is now situated.

    It isn’t “out of sight, out of mind” for the people that consider the sad spectacle of war. For those that don’t care about such things it’s presence in the High Street is unlikely to make them so.

    Personally, I prefer where it is but it wouldn’t cause me any great consternation if it is moved. The financial issue of moving it isn’t really an issue as there’s been an offer to move it with no cost to residents. What I find unpalatable is that the issue seems to bring out quite an amount of ugliness in people.

    Wherever the memorial rests it is becoming inbibed with bad feelings. Sad.

  • Jayne, there is a lot of truth in what you say. But I think the bad feeling and polarisation comes from the fact the TVBC are just burying their heads in the sand, hoping the issue will go away.

    However, as for as many people wanting it left alone as want it returned, that does not appear to be the case, whatever Cllr Carr would like to have us think. Looking at the letters page of the AA there are definitely more people moved to write in who are in favour of returning it. The poll the AA ran also showed a majority in favour of putting it back. They prove nothing on their own, but are probably a good barometer of the feelings of the residents that care, one way or another.

    I think if a referendum was held, as suggested here, it could sort this issue out once and for all. I personally think it should be returned, but if the people of the town, and not just Mr Carr, say leave it alone, then I would be happy with that. This issue raised its head again about 4 years ago, and hasn’t gone away really since. That must say something for the strong feelings in favour of a return. Surely, it must be worth some sort of poll/vote to finally settle the issue once and for all?

    The really sad thing here is that once again lots of people feel they are being ignored by the council.

  • I think what would be a great idea is to turn its current location into a memorial garden, with the memorial pride of place. Get the community involved and turn it into a project, get the kids involved too what a great way of making them feel part of the community. This would really be a fantastic way of getting the message out there to the young persons and the adults of Andover, and with that little education and understanding would come the respect and appreciation that the memorial truly deserves and there would also be a sense of pride to everybody that would help create and maintain the memorial garden.

    • Not really sure what you mean by ‘Memorial Garden’, Martin. It is already the ‘Garden of Remembrance’, what would be the difference? It all sounds like a bit of a throw-away line. Who would organise it, TVBC, the Town Council, the Church, the Education Authority? And what would it entail/look like? Similar things have been suggested in the past, really as just a way of deflecting from the real issue at hand. For example, almost three years ago now TVBC said, that as a compromise (a compromise, really?) to the “return it” campaign, they and the Town Council would look to improve access (realising that it is not an ideal location for large crowds to gather) and also sight lines. The idea was to remove the trees at the rear of the memorial and maybe look to put in new steps up from Newbury Street. It was really just a deflection of the issue at hand and obviously nothing has actually happened. Another was the idea of a new memorial in the churchyard (not sure how that would satisfy the calls to put the cenotaph back?), to commemorate all those Andoverians that have died since the end of the Second World War. Someone did some research and found only one (and it is a real shame he does not already have a memorial in the town), and again nothing has actually happened. I fear your suggestion, however well intended, would suffer the same fate. To my mind the memorial should either stay as it is or be put back where it came from. And the only way to decide that is by some kind of referendum. After that, if it stays, other options can be considered as appropriate (I would not hold my breath), but at the moment I believe that such ‘compromises’ are just a way of deflecting attention away from the ever growing calls to see the memorial returened to the high street. Let’s sort out the issue at hand first, that of whether or not it should be put back, before we go off chasing other dreams.

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