Fenton War Memorial Under Threat.

I can see what used to be Fenton town hall from my window, and even from a mile away, it’s an impressive building. I was saddened to read that it could face demolition if a developer gets their hands on it, as it’s been unused since last year. I remember going there several times in the 1990s when it was the magistrates’ court. Not as a defendant I hasten to add: I worked at the CAB at that time and they ran a clinic there on Friday afternoons.

Not only is it a fine building, it also contains what I understand is a unique war memorial, made from Minton tiles. The building’s owner, The Ministry of Justice, has given bland assurances that the memorial would be saved should the building be sold, but these are no guarantee of its survival. I can appreciate that there can be a problem finding a new use for older buildings, but this is no excuse for inaction. There are not so many great buildings in this city that we can allow them to be demolished when they become inconvenient. There are plenty of “brownfield” sites all around the city, so why not develop them instead?

Worse still, the MoJ is asking £500,000 for the building. This is something of a cheek to put it mildly considering it was gifted to the town (as it then was) by a local industrialist, and cost the MoJ nothing to acquire. The beauty of the architecture aside, it is a war memorial, so should not be destroyed willy-nilly. That dishonours those commemorated, many of whom I understand have no known grave.

I wish the people campaigning to save both building and memorial the very best of luck. I think they will need it. I can appreciate the City Council doesn’t have £500,000 to spare, but perhaps the Council leadership and our local MPs can lobby the MoJ to gift the building back? In the meantime, please sign the petition

More information on The Sentinel website.

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