CONTROVERSIAL plans for a new war memorial in a town centre have been approved by councillors despite an MP urging a deferment.
Members of Durham County Council’s planning committee approved the plans to build a war memorial at Bridge End Chambers, opposite the Civic Heart in Chester-le-Street, yesterday.
They did so despite objections by more than 200 residents who signed a petition objecting to the design and location.
And last night Durham MP Kevan Jones, who had written asking the committee to defer a decision, said: “Naturally I would support a war memorial but the design of this one is absolutely hideous. It is also in an unsuitable location next to pubs and takeaways.”
The previous war memorial near the Market Place had been moved due to redevelopment.
But the Chester-le-Street War Memorial Group said that the design emerged as the preferred option of four during a public consultation its predecessor association held in 2010 and that the site was the favourite of seven put forward.
The group added that the site is near where a previous memorial stood before it was removed for the construction of the market square opposite.
Planning officer Matthew Gibson said: “The content of the objection and petition are noted and assessed, but the majority of points raised are either subjective design issues or points which can not be considered material to the planning process.
“The relevant issues relating to the siting, design and materials are not considered sufficient to lead to refusal of the application.”
Coun Joe Armstrong recommended the memorial be approved, saying: “This is obviously a very contentious issue and it is about time it was resolved.
“It is very important that we honour our heroes in a prominent position in our community.”
It is now hoped the memorial will be in position in time for Remembrance Sunday in November.