Slough council cannot bid to refurbish war memorial as funding pulled

James Bagley. Local Democracy Reporter

Slough council cannot bid to refurbish war memorial as funding pulled

War memorial revamp works may not be forthcoming as grant funding has been pulled due to COVID-19.

Slough Borough Council was successful to submit a £4m bid in a process run by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to undertake refurbishment works at Baylis Park and its memorial garden.

Some of the works included enhancing the area with new planting and landscaping, making it safer and more attractive to all residents. This could involve moving the war memorial from its original position to a paved area.

However, councillors heard at a trustee committee on Monday, November 29, that the Heritage Fund withdrew its offer due to COVID-19. It has since changed its criteria for local authorities to reapply, making it 'unlikely' for the council to be successful again.

It states the funding will be prioritising local business, skills health, and wellbeing rather than heritage.

The council is required to match fund the bid, but in light of its major financial crisis, officers say they are 'not able' to progress with the bidding process.

Small works could still be carried out depending on design drawings and quotes from contractors. This could see funding between £20,000 to £30,000 from the trustee’s war memorial garden reserves, which sit at about £85,000.

Meanwhile, Langley memorial park is undergoing revamp works as part of the widening and junction improvement works on Langley High Street.

Improvement works at the park include new heritage lighting, footpath, as well as landscaping, and planting.

Eddie Hewitt, network management engineer, said the planned completion date has been pushed back by a month. The new date is April 2022, and this is because of delays in utility works on the highway.

It is anticipated planting won’t be completed until summer due to 'gardening issues'. Now is the best time to start planting but officers are finding it difficult to know the site’s boundaries to get approval and undertake this work.

Mr Hewitt said: “I am not expecting any further delays in utilities. It’s just veRy difficult to pin them down and they do have long lead times for arranging for them to come onsite and do the work.”

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