New war memorial planned as Manchester City Council approve moving of St Peter’s Square cenotaph

By Phil Jones

Manchester’s war veterans will get a fitting and peaceful memorial from 2014, as plans to move the cenotaph from St. Peter’s Square were approved yesterday.

After English Heritage withdrew their objection, the monument will now move to its new home opposite the Cooper Street entrance to the town hall.

Wing Commander Richard Foster, Royal British Legion area manager for Greater Manchester and Lancashire, served in the RAF for 35 years and played down controversy around the move.

“The precise location of the cenotaph is less important compared to its meaning and ensuring that the focus is on remembrance,” he said.

“We are not sure precisely how it will eventually look but providing it is well maintained and gives adequate space for sufficient people to pay their respects to the fallen, we will be happy.”

The current site is sandwiched by tram lines and its redevelopment will mean the memorial makes way for another Metrolink line through the square.

“We aren’t interested in taking sides in the politics of whether its moving will provide a better Metrolink service or not,” he added.

“We just want a peaceful but prominent place to pay our respects, and we have no reason to suppose the new location will not provide that.

“I am sure the council considered and accounted for all these factors.”

The city council believed the current setting is unsuitable, not providing adequate space for memorial events, and that a better location could be found for quiet contemplation.

Sir Richard Leese, Manchester City Council leader, said: “The cenotaph is a tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our city and our country.

“Respect for what it represents is, and will remain, our paramount consideration.”

Veteran’s groups, church authorities and heritage bodies were all consulted in the planning, and the council ensured they will continue to be involved throughout the project.

Lieutenant Colonel Richard Jordan, Commanding Officer of 103 Regiment Royal Artillery (Volunteers), said: “Manchester’s Cenotaph is a hugely important monument.

“It is a very fitting focal point for Remembrance Sunday in the city

“And we in the military are extremely grateful to Manchester City Council for consulting with us about its plans to move and restore it.

“Its new location will provide a fitting and peaceful place for members of the public, service personnel and veterans to pay their respects to the city’s fallen.”

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