Marston memorial will not move, Tesco promises residents

City councillor Mick Haines with local residents at the memorial bench

City councillor Mick Haines with local residents at the memorial bench

First published in News The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering North Oxford, Jericho and Summertown. Call me on 01865 425498

TESCO has promised it will not move a plaque and bench in memory of war dead as part of its plans to convert a closed pub.

The firm considered moving the plaque to make way for a car park to the front of the Friar pub – closed for six years – in Marston Road.

And residents were concerned the plan for a Tesco Express would also see the bench moved.

Both remember the 27 men from Marston who were killed during the conflict.

Tesco spokeswoman Beth Greenhouse said: “The memorial plaque and bench will be remaining where they are.

“We’re pleased that this is the case and hope residents now feel reassured.

“There was a lot of confusion, but our highways consultants did some measuring and confirmed plans for the car park will not affect the memorials.”

The news was welcomed by Oxford City Council member for Marston Mick Haines, who paid for the bench and plaque.

He used council cash given to councillors to spend in their wards for the £1,500 bench – unveiled last March – and £500 plaque, put up in 2012. He said: “It is absolutely fantastic news. We fought hard to get the bench and plaque in the first place so I am pleased for everyone in Marston, especially those with relatives whom the memorials commemorate. I am over the moon.”

Tesco got planning permission to convert the former pub in 2011, despite strong local opposition. It aims to start work next month and says the store, due to open in the summer, will create 20 jobs.

A spokesman for the Royal British Legion said: “The Legion is pleased to hear the memorial will remain in place. War memorials and graves honour the memory of the British Armed Forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice and those who defend the freedom we enjoy.”

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