Saturday, 5 February 2011

Monumental Idiots



It has stood for almost a century in tribute to the town's war dead, but today this is all that remains of Worcester Park's war memorial after it was destroyed by contractors working for Sutton Council.

Local residents who found the smashed memorial yesterday morning at first feared that it was the work of vandals, but it was soon realised that the real culprits were tree surgeons who had been working in the cemetery on Thursday afternoon.


Tyre marks at the base and gashes on the side of the plinth show how the contractors' lorry smashed into the side of the memorial as they drove away from the site, sending much of the stonework toppling to the ground, smashing a nearby gravestone as it fell.

All  but one of the stone tablets at the side of the memorial, which were engraved with the names of Worcester Park's war dead, were sent crashing to the ground by the force of the collision.

Tyre marks in the grass show the path that the contractor's vehicle took, and closer inspection by the Worcester Park Blog today has revealed a further trail of destruction left by the tree surgeons as they drove over gravestones and memorials to get to the rear of the cemetery where they were felling a tree.

Freshly damaged stonework and memorials along their route confirm that the war memorial was not the only victim of the contractor's demolition derby...




It is not known whether the contractors reported the damage, but Sutton Council has confirmed that they will be held responsible for the costs of repairing and restoring the memorial.


Writing on her blog, Local Liberal Democrat councillor Jennifer Campbell-Klomps has branded the contractors 'vandals' and has called on Sutton Council to reconsider doing business with company responsible:


"I commend the vigilant resident who witnessed and reported spotting the tree fellers in the vicinity of the war memorial. As an ex-servicewoman, it is extremely difficult to understand how disrespectful anyone can be regarding fallen war heros. 


At least precious time has been saved now that the need to look for the culprits have been spared. No need to name and shame them - in this present economic climate - they will pay through the back teeth with hard cash.

Now it is up to the Sutton Council to decide whether they can afford to do business with such vandals."



IN PICTURES: the Worcester Park war memorial in better days.....


And the destruction caused by Sutton Council's contractors...

A gravestone smashed when the memorial fell....




34 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

WP Resident said...

Unbelievable!! words fail me. I think I could even understand vandalism more than this - these are complete incompetents. I accept, accidents can happen, but this does not look like an accident, surely they could see the memorial and then to further damage graves - that is beyond an accident. To think that the same people are responsible for using chainsaws up trees. The damage they've done is irreparable and will cost a lot to put right in this day and age - fortunately they should be insured, but as usual it will be us that foots the bill through higher insurance premiums to cover things like this. These muppets should be named and shamed.

I.Fox said...

It was bad enough when they demolished the Church. What are they trying to do, demolish all the heratage of Worcester Park...Its outrageous

Barbyk said...

Really upset to see this report of such wanton carelessness in the true sense of the word. They obviously didn't have a thought for others, and what the memorial and gravestones mean to people. Please do not use these people again Sutton! Hit them where it hurts!!

PB said...

Speechless....

Anonymous said...

I would bet money on the council trying to save money by using less reputable contractors *cough* pikeys*cough*....

Jeff said...

Horrendous - The contractors must restore the War Memorial to its original condition fully at their expense and as quickly as possible.

The driving was so appalling one even begins to wonder if the driver had some hidden political agenda.

Bearing in mind what happened to our avenue of poplar trees, the job description of 'tree surgeon'in Worcester Park is becoming synonomous with 'banker' in the wider world.

Anonymous said...

Name and shame!

Please

Anonymous said...

Of course it is terrible and of course it will be repaired. I hardly expect the driver meant to cause the damage he did and I also doubt he 'smashed' into it. Accidents happen. At least no-one was injured.

Susie Cutie said...

Utterly astonished by this display of disrespect and vandalism. Name and shame them I say, that way we can at least avoid giving them any more business locally. If we had their name and they were a reputable firm (unlikey) we could complain to the Arboricultural Association about them too.

Collette said...

This is awful - I'm more shocked and appalled because they were employed by the council, not just vandals! There are lots of unmarked graves throughout the cemetery there as well, people should have more respect.

John Mac said...

It is about time that name and shame applies to this type of mindless arrogance...

Anonymous said...

The Contractors should be named and also make a public apology for such wanton careless driving. The memorial is hardly small and easily unseen.

Rick said...

Perhaps the council’s tree officer simply thought they noticed the memorial was showing early signs of decay? Then, after very gently testing it with a lorry at speed, the early signs of decay were confirmed and the monument was responsibly felled, as it posed a public health risk?

Will these photos be uploaded to the council website, proving the tree officer was right all along? And will another 20-odd, apparently similarly unsafe gravestones disappear with it? Stranger things have happened in KT4.

Whatever has gone on, it provides the council with an opportunity and a space to decide on our behalf, whether we want a war memorial with unsuitably Christian references, or something suitably more Liberal Democratic:

Perhaps we will we be given the chance to replace it with something less about war or local British culture (boo! hiss!) and more about spending our money, to celebrate other, wiser, better societies?

What about commissioning an unaffordable Worcester Park Life Centre? There we can all learn how uniquely terrible British society is and how superior other cultures are?

We could discover how more advanced, developed civilizations have more effectual leadership and use bullets make rapid, effective decisions. In contrast to our undeveloped idea of ballot boxes for the masses, who simply can’t be trusted to make the right decisions (and as proven by Susan Kramer in nearby Richmond).

In addition, to demonstrate our council's full commitment to full consultation, (and since we’d pick up the tab), we can be given the choice of two options for what we want to see where the war memorial stood:

Option A: A life-size statue of Mr. Robert Mugabe, the internationally respected President of Zimbabwe

Option B: A life-size statue of the internationally respected President of Zimbabwe, Mr. Robert Mugabe

Perhaps the internationally respected Kingston upon Thames MP, Ed Davey, will arrive to announce the winning option – before departing to accidentally submit an erroneous claim for the cost of travel from Kingston, Jamaica to Worcester Park?

Lord Cynic of Lindsay said...

"Accident" my backside! Is it not clear that they wantonly drove over consecrated ground and all which that entails in a huge wagon damaging memorials to save their time and effort. They knew what they were doing and, yes, doubtless a cheap, pikey outfit. The memorial may end up restored, but it will never be the same.
It has always concerned me when I see the Council's contractors working on trees or listed buildings and the like. Wrong tree, fire hazard; in the wrong hands you name it.

Rick said...

"Local Liberal Democrat councillor Jennifer Campbell-Klomps has branded the contractors 'vandals' and has called on Sutton Council to reconsider doing business with company responsible"

Jennifer, do be sure to ask nicely and say ‘please’! How very uninspiring, predictably timid and spineless … No wonder the contractors don’t give a rat’s behind!

Would any of the unsuccessful candidates for councillor Campbell-Klomps’ seat like to suggest a rather more energetic and radical response to this reckless act of destruction by anonymous representatives of this anonymous company, employed by anonymous council representatives?

Janet A said...

I think it is a terrible that this has happened - but the fact that people are blaming it on "pikeys" with no evidence or justification is even more depressing. Trust me there are enough idiots employed by sutton council without having to look for racial scapegoats. The Gypsies were in those concentration camps too you know - maybe some of the posters should remember what the memorial stood for.

Anonymous said...

What can I say ..... utter utter scum !! This disgusts me to my core.

We should all be demanding the following:

1) Full written apology on the fron of the local paper from the contractor who did this.

2) Full written apology from the local council who employs scum.

3)Proof from the contractor in the form of either a certificate of insurance or purchase order withb the local stone manson, that the works have been completed.

I expect the council will do nothing about this and the damage will stay for months.......if not forever.

If you don't want to do a job properly F*** off and let someone who wants a job take the work....thats goes for council and contractor.

Anonymous said...

Rather than guess at who the Contractors were, if they were named and shamed as requested by other bloggers then we would be sure of their credentials. Careful driving obviously not being one of them!

Stephen said...

I think Rick needs to stop reading the Daily Mail.

Janet A said...

I wish you could recommend comments comments on this blog but since you can't I would like to say "hear, hear" to Stephen's comment!

Anonymous said...

Woah there Rick. I thought memorials were about local residents paying tribute to and remembering their friends and relatives who died in the war (given the likely absence of a grave) but since when have they ever been about “celebrating” war or British culture. Of course the careless incident is highly unfortunate and regrettable but there’s no need to go into a paranoid anti PC style rant about it.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Stephen...I think Rick has a few issues and is more interested in promoting himself than the matter in question

Jeff said...

Doesn't take long before the war memorial vandals have the good citizens of Worcester Park fighting among themselves - even though they all share the same horror at the event.

Makes you wonder how we ever managed to fight off the Germans for so long until the Yanks came and saved us. Twice.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the memorial was damaged deliberatly however the contractors in questions should have reported it immediatley.

It is a shame that we do not live in a honest society, where if you make a mistake or have an accident and damage something, people feel that they do not have to take account for their actions deliberatley or not

Susie Cutie said...

The Epsom Guardian carries an article this week about our war memorial, and they have named the contractor. At least we can now choose whether to put any more business their way.

Anonymous said...

The contractor does not seem too bothered about the upset that he has caused. An apology would be appreciated, not just a discription of the make up of the memorial. Also, are the damaged headstones to be repaired?

Anonymous said...

Will Lord Cynic now withdraw their racist comments - the contractor is clearly not of the origin they described but actually a very English looking outfit! Have a look at this weeks Kingston Guardian.

Rick said...

Local people demanded “Name and shame!” but Liberal Democrat Councillor Jennifer Campbell-Klomps answered “No need to name and shame them”. So it seems she wants power to be left firmly in the hands of politicians, not people.

Perhaps the uber-liberals amongst us, such as Stephen and Janet A, can recall this quote: “Liberal Democrats will do things differently, because we believe that power should be in the hands of people, not politicians.” No Stephen, it’s not from the Daily Mail, it’s from the Liberal Democrat Manifesto, 2010. (A source that I’m sure you would be quick to accept is above scrutiny).

So, ‘nil p-wa’ to Sutton Council and Sutton’s Councillors but full marks to the Local Guardian for naming and shaming, for wrestling power from local Liberal Democrat politicians and restoring it to the people who have been betrayed.

Maybe Sutton Local Guardian staff ought to stand at the next election, committing to implement the Lib-Dem Manifesto AFTER the election … rather than passionately but deceitfully pledging it before? What do you say, Janet A? “hear, hear”?

Geoff said...

Some people demanded "name and shame".

Unfortunately in a democracy the people's voice is only heard at the ballot box. In the years in between the voice of the people generally counts for nothing.

However, in this instance I don't think that is such a bad thing. There are times when situations occur between ballot boxes that require an executive decision rather than a ballot. After all, the electorate vote these people in to make decisions on our behalf, and if every decision they made was to let the people decide, then it would be a waste of time voting for them in the first place (which for many other reasons it probably is).

So perhaps we should give J C-K the benefit of the doubt when she says that there is no need to name and shame them. Perhaps she knows something we don't, like maybe they are really sorry and are going to do everything in their power to put things right, which as far as I understand from reports is what they are going to do.

And haven't they already been "named and shamed" by the local Guardian anyway?

And no, I'm not a Liberal Democrat, some have described me as far more right wing, but I would personally prefer a debatable executive decision rather than minority mob rule.

Smells like lavender (Avenue) said...

Geoff,

I wholeheartedly agree with you. I think its the time spent between ballott boxes that the people need to consider.

Has anyone seen any of the elected councillors apart from the few months before the election? where they were filled with promise?

Or even as you say there are executive decisions that need to be made for Worcester Park without the publics say - where and what are these decisions? Flower pots, park benches and pavillions? What about the real issues in WP like closed shops, traffic, schools, and the like?

There is a little something on LibDem Stephen Fenwicks website about WP, nothing at all on Jennifer Campbell-Klomps, that seems to be a list of her personal visits and nothing really to say what she is doing for WP. And Stuart Gordon Bullock doesnt even feel the need for a website at all.

Anonymous said...

Is there any update on the memorial? I've e-mailed the company concerned, but surprisingly I've not received a reply.

Rick said...

An update, anonymous? Well, according to Jennifer Campbell-Klomps’ own website, "stone mason/s will be arriving on Monday 14th February to restore the war memorial".

To the untrained eye, the memorial may look EXACTLY the same as it did two months ago, (as in the photo at the top of this thread). But before jumping to any conclusions, Cllr. Campbell-Klomps didn't actually state which Monday February 14th, and at the current rate of progress, this suggests she could be referring to the one in the years 2022 or 2028.

As Councillor Campbell-Klomps only does one-way communication, it’s pointless asking which 14th February she is referring to, so you might like to follow Geoff's lead, dismiss the people's voices as well as the people's eyes, and "give J C-K the benefit of the doubt".

By the way, Geoff, according to J C-K herself (so you’ll instinctively give the benefit of the doubt), the council contractor was NOT identified because of their immediate confession and sincere regret, but because of "the vigilant resident who witnessed and reported spotting the tree fellers in the vicinity of the memorial”.

As for the (backward in coming forward) contractor, no doubt, as you maintain, “they are really sorry”, …but only once they had been discovered and publicly identified: 'name and shame'.

Thankfully the vigilant resident was the type to act upon what their own eyes witnessed and utilised their public voice (or “mob rule” as you define it), rather than wait for your preference: “a debatable executive decision”, which would have enabled the unidentified contractor to covertly move on to the next paid job.

Meanwhile, two months on, the wrecked monument itself is, seemingly, still awaiting a debatable executive decision.

Anonymous said...

I noticed when I drove past at the weekend that the memorial is still in it's sorry state - does anyone know what's happening to it?

Anonymous said...

when I drove past last night - it looked as though it had been restored to it's former glory - thank you and well done to all those involved. Ok it was a careless accident, but lets put this behind us and be grateful that the monument is back and possibly in a better state than before.

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