Refusal for ‘premature’ plans to move Wisbech war memorial

Wisbech Post Office war memorial plaque

Wisbech Post Office war memorial plaque - Credit: Archant

Hopes of relocating a Wisbech war memorial have been dashed for a second time after Fenland planners refused to grant a planning application claiming it was “premature”.

Hopes of relocating a Wisbech war memorial have been dashed for a second time after Fenland planners refused to grant a planning application claiming it was “premature”.

It was hoped the plaque, which remembers 13 fallen soldiers from the First and Second World Wars, and hangs inside the former town post office could be relocated to sorting office.

Those named on the marble memorial inside the now empty 19th century grade II listed building at Bridge Street, were all postmen who lost their lives fighting in the two wars.

The Post Office applied to move it to the sorting office following the closure of the town branch but the application was initially refused in January.


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However, Mr P Swain on behalf of the Post Office made a renewed application in February with additional information about how the plaque would safeguarded during its removal and how the work would be completed.

Despite this the plans still met with resistance from Fenland District Council’s conservation office, The Wisbech Society and Historic England, who all claim the move would detract from the historic fabric of the listed building.

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However, Wisbech Town Council backed the plans stating they support the application “especially as the new location of the war memorial plaque would be within an area to which the public has access.”

But the planning decision notice from Fenland District Council said the application had been refused for two reasons including the fact it is considered premature as the plaque is not under immediate threat.

Firstly there was insufficient justification to support the removal and relocation on a number planning policy grounds including:

“The proposal is considered to cause harm to the significance of the Grade II listed Post Office, which would not be justified or outweighed by public benefit.

“Furthermore the application is considered premature in that whilst the Post Office has closed and is no longer available for public access the future use of the building and its subsequent accessibility is unknown. As the war memorial plaque is not under threat at this time there would appear to be no immediate need to relocate to an alternative venue.”

There is also concern over whether or not the plaque can be dismantled or re-erected. There was also a question mark over whether or not the new location would be able to accommodate the weight of the plaque.

The application did not include a mitigation strategy to address these issues.

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