THE long-running saga of Ledbury's 'sinking' War Memorial appears to be coming to a satisfactory close, almost seven years on since repairs were first discussed by the town council.

The council announced this week that funding to the tune of £30,642 has been agreed, with the aim of completing the long-debated works by May 2020, in time for the 75th anniversary of the VE Day celebrations.

A statement issued this week by town clerk, Angela Price said: "As many people are aware, Ledbury Town Council has for some time now been discussing the refurbishment of the War Memorial in Ledbury.

"Ledbury Town Council recognise that the War Memorial is important to the people of the town and that it should be maintained and refurbished regularly to ensure its place in the town for many years to come. Therefore, the council is pleased to inform the people of Ledbury that works and funding for the refurbishment to the War Memorial have now been agreed and it is anticipated that the work will be carried out in early spring 2020, ensuring that the works will be completed in time for the 75th anniversary of VE Day, on the weekend of May 8, 2020.

"The works will include the cobbles around the base of the memorial being removed and Portland stone slabs being laid; a replacement base and upper stones being installed where required, and a drainage system to ensure no future flooding around the base of the stone."

Work will probably begin in late March or early April next year.

The statement adds: "The works should take approximately six weeks and the area around the memorial will be fenced off for safety and security purposes; but it is hoped that disruption to pedestrians and traffic will be kept to a minimum."

To pay the bill, the council will take half the required sum from this year's budget and the remainder from next's year's budget.

Water damage to the base of the memorial is so extensive, stones have cracked, and the monument gives the odd impression of sinking into the pavement.

News of the repairs have been welcomed by the President of the Ledbury Branch of the Royal British Legion, retired Wing Commander Don Rule MBE who said: "It's very good news. I am delighted. I have been worried about the War Memorial for some considerable time, and it's coming up to the time, Remembrance Sunday, when I think about it a great deal. I think the memorial is subsiding in some areas."

Emphasising the importance of the High Street memorial to Ledbury, Mr Rule, who is also Vice President of the Herefordshire Branch of the Legion, said: "I am very proud of the numbers of people who turn up for Remembrance Sunday in Ledbury. It's the best attended I've seen, and I do get around; and the War Memorial is the centrepiece of it all."

Mr Rule added: "I'm coming to the conclusion that the town council has settled down again. They seem to have stopped shouting at each other."

But a former town councillor and former member of the War Memorial working party, Bob Barnes, says he will believe the repairs are happening when he sees them.

He added: "They should have been done two years ago, and at half the cost. Everything was in place two years ago. We had someone to restore it and the ground works organised, but political factions at the time blocked it, and now the town council is about to pay much more.

"But of course the work should be done."