AN appeal has been made for residents to join a new group which aims to keep a war memorial clean and tidy.
The memorial, in Victory Square, off Victoria Road, Hartlepool, is a permanent reminder of the town’s men and women who died in wartime.
But concerns have been raised that people are not treating the area with the respect it deserves.
Hartlepool man Martin Sharp, 52, is aiming to set up a Friends of Victory Square group and has organised a public meeting next week.
It is a cause close to his heart as he lost two friends, from Manchester and Leeds, in the Falklands War.
The aim of the group will be to keep the area clean from litter and to work in conjunction with Hartlepool Borough Council to reports incidents of graffiti and anti-social behaviour.
The war memorial is a listed structure and the plinths that surround it have the names of the 1,800 men and women from Hartlepool who died in the Second World War, subsequent conflicts and some from the First World War that weren’t originally listed.
It is against the law to skateboard in Victory Square, to play ball games or to drink alcohol and the maximum penalty for breaking the by-laws is a £500 fine.
Mr Sharp, who is registered disabled, said: “The war memorial is there as a place for rest and contemplation and it is not there to be used as a sports ground.
“We need to keep it in the public’s mind that this is not an area for football, skateboarding or anti-social behaviour.
“The aim of the group will be to support the council in keeping the area clean and tidy.”
He has also raised concerns about vehicles driving over the square and said he hopes to enlist the help of war veterans in the future to help educate people to be more respectful.
Mr Sharp, who lives in Arch Court on the Central Estate, added: “There will be regular litter picks and we will report incidents of anti-social behaviour, graffiti, or any damage to the council and liaise with the police.
“The main aim of the meeting next week is to get people together who would be willing to join.”
The public meeting is due to take place on Monday, June 13, in Committee Room B, in the Civic Centre, at 7pm. Anyone is welcome to attend.
The Hartlepool Voluntary Development Agency (HVDA) is lending its support and they can provide transport to anyone who would otherwise struggle to make the meeting.
For more information call the HVDA on (01429) 262641.
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