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Council orders Cumbrian man to take down memorial cross

A man has been ordered to pull down the tribute cross he erected in his wife’s memory on top of Workington’s slag banks.

Memory: Peter Nelson and the nine-foot cross

Related: Sponsored walk to support Cumbrian man's slag bank cross

Peter Nelson said he is in shock after Cumbria County Council officials told him he has to remove the 9ft crucifix he put up around a month ago following the death of his wife, Angela, who died in March.

Mr Nelson told the News & Star he was “gutted” and that he is now working on a plan to remove the structure.

“I got a phone call from a guy at the council telling me I had to take it down,” he said. “I was literally dazed and couldn’t say much, or put up a fight. They [the council] seem to be focussing on a little cross which is not doing anybody any harm, instead of focussing on things which are more important.”

The news is sure to cause outrage among hundreds of people who are in support Mr Nelson’s tribute. A petition with nearly 2,000 signatures has already been lodged with the county council, which owns the land, calling for the cross to stay and a charity walk will be held a week on Sunday for people to come together and show their solidarity.

Mr Nelson, who admits he did not gain planning consent, says he put a lot of time, money and effort into creating and erecting the cross.

“It’s somewhere out of the way, where people can go and reflect on someone they have lost,” said the 49-year-old, of Vulcan’s Lane in Workington. “It’s secure and it’s safe. We have had two sets of gales and it hasn’t moved one iota. And there has been a lot of public support for it, people from as far as Durham have travelled over to see it.

“The amount of people who have stopped me and told me they’ve been to see it is unbelievable – this isn’t causing any grief.”

But he has accepted the structure will have to be removed by himself, as he fears if not, the council will do so. At the moment he is deciding what to do with the cross once he has taken it down. One of the options is to sell it at auction and give the money to charity.

The charity walk will take place on Sunday, August 31, from Workington’s Tesco store up to the cross. People should meet at Tesco at 4pm, ready for a 4.30pm start. Those who are unable to take part in the actual walk, can meet at the car park at the bottom of the slag banks.

There is a suggested £2 donation, with the money raised going to the intensive care unit at the West Cumberland Hospital, following Mr Nelson’s wishes.

A spokesperson for Cumbria County Council said: “We have carefully considered this issue and recognise that people have expressed passionate feelings both for and against the cross.

"It was erected without permission from the county council or planning approval from Allerdale Borough Council.

"After careful consideration we’ve spoken with Mr Nelson and requested that he removes it. Anyone wanting to put up a structure of this nature must first obtain planning permission."

Have your say

come on council,get your fingers out or pay me and i will gladly remove it.

Posted by barrie dawson on 14 September 2014 at 10:55

come on council,get your fingers out or pay me and i will gladly remove it.

Posted by barrie dawson on 12 September 2014 at 18:13

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