AFTER six years of discussions among the town council, Ledbury's war memorial still has not been mended in time for this Remembrance Sunday.

The idea was to get the work finished for this Sunday's Act of Remembrance and parade, which marks the centenary of the end of the First World War – but this has not happened, and now it seems the much-needed repairs will not take place for another two years.

Water has long caused corrosion at the base of the monument and gives the impression that the memorial is sinking.

The ongoing problem was discussed at last week's full Ledbury Town Council meeting, when chairman Cllr Nina Shields expressed concern that the refurbishment "had been the subject of discussion for six years".

Her concern over the lack of progress has also been shared by other councillors, including Keith Francis and Andrew Manns, who said the work should now be completed by the centenary of the war memorial being installed, December 2020.

But, speaking at last week's council meeting in the Community Hall, Cllr Francis said repairs could involve more than just fixing the drainage problem.

He said: "The shaft going up to the flame is quite severely damaged. There is a lot of it that needs attention."

There is a slight lean to the monument, which has been the case for several years.

Speaking this week, former Ledbury mayor, Wing Commander Don Rule, the county's vice president for the Royal British Legion, said: "I don't understand why it's taken so long. It's a disappointment.

"Obviously I'm very anxious the repairs will be done. The war memorial is an important part of this town."

Ledbury resident David Cadywold, posting on the Voice of Ledbury Facebook site, said it was "disgraceful" that the repairs had not been carried out in time for this Sunday, adding: "It's very disrespectful, letting the memorial get worse."

Fellow resident Julian Price said to the town council: "Disgraceful - pull your fingers out."

Former Ledbury town councillor, Richard Hadley, posting on the online Ledbury Reporter site said: "The war memorial totters for want of proper maintenance. It's a disgrace."

However, there have been some obstacles along the way, and last year the town council received advice that plans to dismantle and renovate the 'sinking' war memorial had to be shelved because the monument is grade II listed.

Instead, all work to the memorial has to take place "in situ" and may be subject to planning permission from Herefordshire Council.

Last year, the town council voted to spend £5,500 on groundworks "to address the issues of water pooling around the base of the memorial", but the work has not taken place.

Former town councillor Martin Eager, who was chairman of the town's environment and leisure committee, said last year: "If we can get this sorted out for next year's celebrations, that would be absolutely spot on."

But all that happened this week ahead of the Armistice centenary was a 'spring clean' of the ailing monument.

Now a new deadline has been suggested to get the repair work done: within two year's

Cllr Jane Hopkins, chairman of the town's environment and leisure committee, who has discussed the war memorial with the county's conservation officer, said: "The war memorial is not going to fall down. The major work needing to be done is drainage."

Cllr Hopkins explained that planning permission would not be required for this work, because it would be "cosmetic".

Cllr Shields is keen for the restoration work to progress "as quickly as possible" and she has asked the environment and leisure committee to "actively monitor progress" and take into account costs when setting next year's budget.