Tristram Hunt MP – Shadow Education Spokesman on Magna Carta / Fenton Town Hall

tristramhuntarticleSource courtesy The Sentinel

Repealed or not the people invoked the spirit of Article 61 of the Magna Carta 1215 because the government department dealing with the “disposal” of Fenton Town Hall, the Ministry of Justice, was acting “out of control”, in a manner unrepresentative of the vast majority of taxpayers in the UK.

More specifically:

Many people THE WORLD OVER felt dismayed about the future of the priceless First World War memorial left to the application of standard Property Law:

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In his response to Robert Flello MP in The Commons about the effectiveness of covenants in protecting the memorial Shailesh Vara MP used terms such as “HOPE” and “DO THE UTMOST” in avoiding disposal to “ROGUE DEVELOPERS”, the existence of which he openly acknowldeged (see Hansard).

No copy of the said protective covenant has been sent to the community and on many agents’ sites (eg propertylink.estatesgazette) no mention of a covenant is made. No wonder the community and thousands of others around the world argue selling a priceless architectural jewel such as this into private hands is too big a risk, and no wonder many relatives should feel the Ministry is acting irresponsibly in its handling of this matter, leading to the subsequent action to protect their relatives’ memorial and in some cases grave.

Of course, a covenant cannot guarantee appropriate levels of access to the First World War memorial. It should also be pointed out during this two year period of “disposal” the Ministry have made available just 10 hours for viewings. Conversely, during the month long period of occupation, at least 50 relatives had the opportunity to pay respects to their ancestors in an open, unhindered manner; the first time for nearly 50 years. Ultimately, only in the hands of the community can we maximise the likelihood of the memorial’s survival and access to the public.

Now let us hope that Stoke-on-Trent’s own Tristram Hunt MP, in recognising the community’s need to hold the Ministry of Justice to account over their handling of Fenton Town Hall, has also joined the fight to see it, and the fabulous memorials it contains, brought back to its community.

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London Tower poppy sculptures coming to Fenton?

http://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/Readers-campaign-Tower-London-poppies-visit-Stoke/story-25702848-detail/story.html

“OVER a hundred readers have signed a petition calling for two iconic sculptures made from Potteries clay to be brought to Stoke-on-Trent.

Constructed using thousands of ceramic poppies, The Weeping Window and The Wave have already been viewed by millions at the Tower of London in recent months.”…

Perhaps one (or both) of the sculptures should come to Fenton to highlight the plight of the town’s memorial to the First World War… ignored by many while £50m of commemorative events take place across the UK.

To redress this injustice there is a comments box on the webpage:

“Why do you want to see the Poppies in Stoke-on-Trent?”

If you think what’s going on with Fenton’s memorial is wrong please fill it in.

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Tears of sadness and pride as custodians of Fenton Town Hall leave

Custodians of Fenton Town Hall, Stoke-on-Trent, decided to leave with dignity, grace and honour this evening. Tears of sadness and pride flowed as residents from across the city, gravely concerned about the future of this much loved building and its splendid Minton tiled memorial to the First World War, sang Jerusalem and God Save the Queen before handing keys back to security guards.

For four weeks the custodians of Fenton Town Hall and its war memorials have carried out repairs, security checks, health and safety checks, general maintenance and kept the property in a general state of good order and cleanliness since seeking fair treatment from the Ministry of Justice and the Depart for Communities and Local Government for its plans to transform the building into a multifunctional inclusive venue the whole city can enjoy.

And for four weeks the custodians have given us a glimpse of how the building could benefit the whole community. The building ceased being a burden on the public purse, there was a community library, cafe, community workshops and events operating which injected value back into the local neighbourhood, improving quality of life for the city’s residents.

The residents have made it clear that a Fenton Town Hall, run via an appropriate Trust, presents a massive opportunity to transform Fenton into an exciting town where vibrant things take place, attracting visitors, investment, growth and jobs for the immediate area and the wider North Staffordshire conurbation, and where the safety of one of Stoke-on-Trent’s most prized architectural jewels can be assured.

Film Director, Ken Loach said of the residents’ occupation this morning:

“Such buildings are greatly valued as places where communities come together. That the war memorial would also be sacrificed shows a disregard of the memory of those who gave their lives. I hope that the people of Fenton and the surrounding area have convinced their politicians to think again”

Justin Meath Baker, great grandson of the philanthropist who gifted Fenton Town Hall to the people of Fenton stated this morning:

“Fenton Town Hall was built in 1888 by my great grandfather, William Meath Baker at his own expense, for a sum of £10,000. It may well be that the freehold of the building is currently registered in the name of the Secretary of State, but from any moral or public interest perspective it is clear that now that the MoJ has no further use for the building it should be returned to its rightful owners, the citizens of Fenton.”

Community of Fenton makes a video plea to the Queen

From the community of Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent, a plea to Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II to save Fenton’s splendid First World War Memorial from demolition and possible blocking off / denial of public access.

A plea from the community for the memorial and the building which houses it to come to the community so that, for the first time in 50 years, relatives and visitors will be able to marvel at this priceless piece of heritage in an open and unhindered manner yet again and won’t be left to the mercy of a “rogue developer” (See Shailesh Vara MP in Hansard)

Fighting Fund.

Custodians of Fenton Town Hall, who’re currently protecting three war memorials from removal and another from possible complete demolition, as in the case of the unique Minton Hollins tiled First World War memorial, have been served with a court summons by the Ministry of Justice.
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The custodians were very disappointed and surprised to receive this summons, particularly as negotiations are ongoing between the custodians and the Ministry of Justice regarding the transfer of the building. Moreover the activities taking place at the property are injecting value into the community – helping to improve lives and raise aspirations. The custodians are also looking after the building, keeping it secure and making repairs.
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The court case takes place next Wednesday 10th December, 2.30pm at Stoke-on-Trent Combined Court, Bethesda Street, Hanley.

If the community wishes to fight on there could be considerable costs to pay. Please help if you can.

Donations can be made via Paypal – simply go onto their website and make a payment to our email account – info@fentontown.org.uk

You can make a bank transfer to Fenton Community Association –

Sort Code – 01-05-27. Account Number – 38699532.

Or, if you prefer, call into the Town Hall where we have a donation bucket.

Please share….