Southend Council to remember the end of Great War with bronze statue

A bronze statue of a soldier is to be placed in front of Southend’s Cenotaph War Memorial to commemorate 100 years since the end of the First World War.

The plan for the life-size bronze statue on Clifftown Parade was granted planning permission by the council’s development committee on Wednesday, with one councillor praising it as “wonderful”.

It will stand at just under six-foot-high and depict a soldier facing away from the cenotaph in the ‘rest rifles’ position which is traditionally adopted during ceremonial events.

While councillor unanimously approved the plans, some concerns were raised.

Councillor Chris Walker said: “My grandfather fought at the Somme and he would never have turned his back on former comrades so I think this is badly situated.”

He went on to propose adding a second statue and making changes to the position but this was dismissed as being a “completely different proposal”.

A member of the council’s parks team also defended the position of the statue, explaining that it emulates the style of a number of other memorials in places such as at the Royal Artillery in London.

Cllr Carole Mulroney said: “I want to say that it does look out over the words ‘lest we forget’. My great grandfather died at the Somme so it is important to me as well and I did some research into the position.

“When it comes to a memorial like this, the soldiers that guard always face outwards.”

Another concern was raised by Councillor Faye Evans who said it is a “wonderful statue” but questioned whether more could be done to protect it.

A member of the council’s planning team said the statue had been designed to be “free standing” and to not be enclosed.

The council received one letter of objection from a resident living close by who feared it would diminish the impact of the cenotaph.

Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter