I am very concerned about the state of Slough's war memorials and the refusal of Labour-controlled Slough Borough Council to maintain and repair after 89 years of use.
It is my understanding that John Rice, Slough Borough Council's (SBC) Assistant Director, Environment & Regeneration has stated that such work is "beyond our current funding allocations" seemingly due to "austerity".
When driving along the main A4 road from Langley into Slough in recent months, I have noticed a large mobile electronic sign board at the roadside proclaiming 'HEART OF SLOUGH' followed by a brief reference to roadworks ahead.
The sign is of absolutely no benefit in terms of road safety & actually achieves nothing other than trumpet SBC's 'Heart of Slough' project, as does the website at www.heartofslough.com
Given the obvious expense of owning or hiring such a sign & setting up and maintaining the website, one has to wonder as to the true extent of "austerity" in Slough & the underlying reason for failing to properly maintain our local war memorials.
Is it genuinely "beyond our current funding allocations"?
Mr. Rice may wish to take note of The War Memorials (Local Authorities' Powers) Act 1923 (13 & 14 Geo.V C.18), which received Royal Assent on 18th July 1923. Section 1 of the Act addressed this issue, empowering - but not obliging - local authorities to use public money for the maintenance, repair and protection of war memorials.
As SBC is clearly empowered to act although seemingly lacks both the political & financial resolve to do so, I believe Mr. Rice will be well advised to make an early application for a grant through the War Memorials Trust as one of his "avenues to secure funding".
Mr Rice may may also be well advised to invite local councillors & officials to review their current expenditure elsewhere in Slough & challenge the obvious waste of public monies, which may be contributing to, if not the very cause of, such "austerity".
Is Slough Borough Council really so very lacking in both morals & finances?
Perhaps it is just a sign of the times ... a big electronic flashing one at the very 'Heart of Slough' !