Stones erected more than a century ago – to honour the local men who fought in the Boer Wars – are set to form part of a new memorial in Cheswick Place. Solihull Council has confirmed that the plans to create the monument on land adjacent to Tanworth Lane, Cheswick Green, fall within permitted development rights and can proceed.
The engraved stones, comprising of one central column and 12 tablets, recognise the Warwickshire soldiers who had served in the South African campaigns. They were created at some point after 1907 and were made from pillars that once formed part of the Old Law Courts and Public Offices in Moor Street, Birmingham – which were demolished in that year.
Jonathan Bryan, development planner at the applicant, Bloor Homes Western, said: “The stones had been located in a private garden in the village, on the site of what was previously The Victoria Cross Garden.
“They were removed in 2011 and kept in storage after a planning application was submitted for the site with a view to relocating them elsewhere in the village. “Following discussions with Cheswick Green Parish Council, it is proposed to erect the memorial stones on the public open space which is being created at the entrance to our Cheswick Place development off Coppice Walk, so they can be seen and enjoyed by the local community.” The War Memorials Trust, a national charity, had previously been contacted about the proposals last year. While a planning application had been submitted to Solihull Council last month, the local authority has confirmed that the scheme can proceed without the need for planning permission.
The developer has said that it aims to have the stones installed before the end of the year with an official unveiling ceremony due to take place at the site.
A detailed history of the original memorial had previously been produced by resident John Pettinger and was submitted alongside the planning documents. He explained how the stones had long been a point of local interest.
“Those people who have lived in Cheswick Green since the new village was built in the 1970s have been aware of a tall column standing in the garden of 194 Creynolds Lane, on the corner of Cheswick Way.
“A fascinating and mysterious feature: it had once been a part of the Pleasure Grounds that Philip Baker had created on the Mount Estate in the early 1900s. Delving into the history of the site, Mr Pettinger reveals that in July 1906, the Birmingham Gazette reported on a visit by former servicemen to the newly-opened Pleasure Grounds. Seventy-five members of the Birmingham Military Veterans Association had attended the day-out and it is thought that this may have inspired Mr Baker to create the memorial. For many years, the stones were maintained by the Leese family, who lived in the Creynolds Lane bungalow, later built on the site. By coincidence Mrs Leese subsequently moved to South Africa to live near Rorke’s Drift, the site of one of the continent’s most famous battles.
Seven years ago, the late Pete Davies and Cheswick Green Residents Association arranged for local builders Merchant EH Smith to transport the items from their old home and they have been kept in storage until last year. They have since been undergoing restoration by specialist stone masons under the supervision of Cheswick Green parish council in preparation to forming a memorial at the entrance to Cheswick Place off Coppice Walk provided by Bloor Homes.
- Steve Hall August 20, 2018 at 7:15 pm Edit You might want to change the last paragraph of your piece. The Residents Association had nothing to do with the removal and storage of the stones, and there is recorded evidence, including photos, that show that the stones were saved and stored by the Parish Council. They were removed from the bungalow at the top of Cheswick Way, and placed on land then owned by an ex-councillor for safe-keeping. I can provide you with the relevant evidence from John Pettinger’s ‘history’ of the stones if you like? Frankly, it smacks of desperation that you keep claiming ownership of stuff that is done by other people/organisations!!
August 21, 2018 at 10:51 am
Sorry to disappoint you Steven but you need to be more certain of your facts.
Were you present at the meeting with the then chairman of the parish council and the residents association in April 2011? If you care to look at our minutes you will see that the RA did in fact arrange for the transport of the stones. I remember the meeting very well as I was there. Sadly it has taken seven years of neglect and deterioration for anything to be done with them since. Hopefully they will now become a feature in our village for all to enjoy.
August 21, 2018 at 11:21 am
I’ve looked, Ian, and it doesn’t actually say that:
“VC Memorial Garden and PC matters – Chris Noble Chris reported that the PC had arranged a meeting and had agreed to store memorial items from 194 Creynolds lane on Mr and Mrs Pettingers land off Coppice Walk. Pete said that EH Smith could transport the heavy items if they were placed on pallets. ”
My interpretation of that is that Chris/PC arranged the removal and storage of the stones, and Pete suggested that EH Smith could help with the transport of them (presumably he had a connection with the firm at the time?). There is nothing in this that suggests that the RA organised the whole event, which is what you are saying in your piece! There is no acknowledgement that the PC were even involved in the process. Perhaps you ought to consider your own ‘facts’ first, Ian.
August 21, 2018 at 12:10 pm
The paragraph that you claimed was inaccurate says…
Seven years ago, the late Pete Davies and Cheswick Green Residents Association arranged for local builders Merchant EH Smith to transport the items from their old home and they have been kept in storage ever since.
Please state what is inaccurate about the wording?
Focus on the word transport and yes Pete Davies worked for EH Smith.
August 21, 2018 at 12:42 pm
Ian, the inaccurate bit is the wording “……. Cheswick Green Residents Association arranged for local builders merchant…….”
The RA Minutes from April 2011 (as quoted in my previous comment above) don’t actually say that, or even suggest it. Are you saying that those Minutes aren’t correct?? Or are you deliberately excluding the fact that the PC/Chris Noble were involved in the whole process, with help from Pete Davies and his connection with EH Smith? The fact that Pete made the offer during that particular meeting doesn’t mean that the RA were responsible for the stones being moved, however much you’d like it to be the case.
August 21, 2018 at 1:29 pm
At the risk of getting tedious I suggested you focus on the word “Transport”. My paragraph does not refer to organising entire process leading to the removal of the stones, or the contact between the PC and the landowner. It solely states that Mr Davies and the RA organised the TRANSPORT. You stated in your first comment that this was not true which is not the case. I had added a relevant news item to this website – The Residents Association website, so it would seem quite reasonable to mention the fact that the RA assisted in this way. I could add my own part in pointing out to the parish council, the threat to the stones when the site was earmarked for development but as I have no evidence of that other than the photographs I took at the time, It would not have been mentioned.
I do remember that at the time the RA had a good relationship with the parish council and its chairman Chris Noble. That is evident in the minutes of 11th April and of course I was present at the meeting. Sadly, subsequent events have eroded that relationship which seems to be the reason for the dislike you have for the RA and comments you have made here, letters on noticeboards and emails to the committee.
August 21, 2018 at 3:41 pm
This will be my last comment on the subject……… your Minutes clearly DO NOT say that the RA organised the transport of the stones, they just say that Peter made an offer from EH Smith to the PC to help move them.
As to the rest, if you’re saying that a resident is not entitled to ask questions of the RA and expect to get answers, either by notes on the notice boards, or e-mails to the committee, then there is something clearly wrong in your organisation.
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