By Harriet Ernstsons Friday 21 September 2012 Updated: 24/09 17:06
SPECIALLY designed planters will be installed around Redditch's war memorial after council bosses admitted previous efforts to stop it being abused had failed.
Campaigners have been calling for action for over a year to stop people sitting and eating as well as riding bikes and skateboards on the memorial outside St Stephen's Church.
Initially Redditch Borough Council installed benches and a sign asking people to respect the tribute to the town's war dead but have now agreed to install the planters, at a cost of just over £700, after the action failed to deter people from misusing it. They should be in place by mid-October.
But Margaret Morley, one of the campaigners, branded the move as an 'unnecessarily extravagant solution'.
The Headless Cross resident added while she was pleased something was being done, it had taken too long as the council had pledged to do something before last year's Remembrance Day. She added a simple chain around the memorial, like those in Astwood Bank and Plymouth Road, would be just as effective.
"I am not happy about the method, to me it is absolutely ridiculous. A chain would do the job just as well and probably cost a fraction of the price," she said.
"When I went past the other Saturday, there were over 15 young people sitting on it and it makes me wonder what people visiting the town must think. You never go anywhere else and see people sat all over the memorial.
"I'm sure if it happens there are people today who don't know we fought two world wars and many since and hundreds of thousands of young people were killed for our freedom, there is something seriously wrong with our education system.
"All I can assume is they do know and they don't care."
Coun Debbie Taylor, responsible for local environment on the council, said: "A chain across the steps was discussed and although it would indeed have been a cheap option it was shown that due to the layout of the memorial it would not have actually prevented people sitting on the steps. Furthermore we are not permitted to drill into the memorial stone for fittings.
"So we took the opportunity to further enhance one of our main public spaces with planters. The bespoke public grade planters we’ve had made are designed to interlock with each others so no drilling is required.
"We believe they will make another positive addition to the area and we're proud to continue the work that has just seen Redditch confirmed for the second year running as a gold standard Britain in Bloom town."
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