Concerns over plans to move flood memorial in Hunstanton

Special memorial service to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the 1953 floods. ENGANL00120130131155741

Special memorial service to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the 1953 floods. ENGANL00120130131155741

0
Have your say

Fears have been raised about the future of a flood memorial in Hunstanton following proposals to move it.

The tribute, which is in Esplanade Gardens on Reis Leming Way, honours those who lost their lives in the floods of 1953, but would be relocated under Lottery-funded council plans to redesign the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) garden.

Special memorial service to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the 1953 floods. ENGANL00120130131160902

Special memorial service to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the 1953 floods. ENGANL00120130131160902

But one concerned Hunstanton resident believes that the best thing would be for the memorial to stay put.

Dick Melton said: “The memorial was constructed by members of the council workforce, who got the rocks from the beach and scrounged the sand and cement from a local builder.

“Frank Sawbridge sat at home in his shed for many nights doing the engraving of the names of 15 local people and 16 Americans who lost their lives on that terrible night – January 31, nearly 64 years ago.”

Mr Melton added: “To remove this memorial, it would have to be broken up as it cannot be removed in one piece, and then re-constructed. This must not happen.

“Why move it? Being next to the war memorial and in Reis Leming Way is the most appropriate place for it to be and there it should stay.”

John Maiden, of Hunstanton Civic Society, said: “The borough council should consult the Civic Society before deciding if this is really necessary, because the only argument put forward for moving the memorial appears to be the perceived need to create more standing space in front of the war memorial.

“The argument goes against this Lottery-funded scheme, which is to ‘restore’ the original character and appearance of the gardens, as they were up to the 1950s.”

He added: “It would be very unfortunate indeed if these award-winning gardens were to lose any feature that was not there prior to the 1960s.”

A spokeswoman for West Norfolk Council said: “The proposal to move the flood memorial was included in the consultation on the Heritage Gardens in Hunstanton last year.

“The proposal is to redesign the RNLI garden as a Time and Tide Garden which will be a memorial to Hunstanton’s relationship with the sea. The flood memorial will be relocated here as its current position means it is often overlooked or stood on during memorial services.

“It was discussed with the RNLI and the Civic Society during the public consultation last year and was never questioned or queried.

“In its new location it will be accompanied by stories of the tragedies and rescues of the 1953 flood and other information, increasing its visibility and importance as a memorial and giving it a better setting.”