“Dirty great holes” dug opposite war memorial put Remembrance Day parade in danger in Milton Keynes

Newport Pagnell War Memorial
Newport Pagnell War Memorial

Blundering highways bosses put one of MK’s biggest Remembrance Sunday events in danger by digging “dirty great holes” in the road directly opposite the war memorial.

The spot in Newport Pagnell High Street is exactly where hundreds of people are due to stand in Sunday’s special parade to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1.

Newport Pagnell roadworks

Newport Pagnell roadworks

“I was frankly appalled, In fact, I was fuming. How could the council be so insensitive?” said ward councillor Douglas McCall, who is a former army officer.

He said the highway works were “non urgent” and being carried by a gas company authorised by MK Council.

Today, with half the road still closed and traffic lights in place, Lib Dem Councillor McCall demanded an urgent site meeting with the council to point out the obvious problem.

He told the highways officer: “If the holes are not filled in or safety covered the parade will be a disaster. This is not a good way to remember our war dead, especially in this centenary year.”

Douglas McCall

Douglas McCall

Within minutes the council agreed a solution - to temporarily fill in the holes and make the road safe for Sunday.

“They’ll have to dig the temporary surface up again on Monday and refill it. But for once I don’t care abut the cost. The parade is more important,” said Cllr McCall, who has organised the parades in Newport Pagnell for more than quarter of a century.

Hundreds of people are expected to line the town’s poppy-festooned High Street to watch Sunday’s parade and wreath-laying ceremony, which starts in the High Street at around 10.30am.

Cllr McCall is now worried the gas works will negatively affect the Newport Pagnell Christmas lights switch-on event on November 24.

A council spokesman said: “MK Council are very supportive of all planned community events taking place on or around the highway and where possible we will always accommodate these and minimise the disruption to the local area. We have taken every possible action to limit any impact to the WW1 commemoration parade taking place on Sunday in Newport Pagnell.”

“It is unfortunate that these emergency works had to take place at this particular time however it was unavoidable as a high pressure gas main needed to be replaced urgently. “We expect the repairs to be finished before the end of the month.”

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