A “neglected barren waste” is how Little Common roundabout is described in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday on November 10.
There’s such concern about its appearance as backdrop to solemn wreath-laying at the War Memorial that members of Little Common Royal British Legion have taken the matter into their own hands and worked to get it looking smarter for the ceremony.
They are led by 79 year old Ernie Eldridge who fought with the Royal Fusiliers in Korea and the Suez Canal campaign.
He told the Observer: “It looks absolutely disgusting - that’s why we set to.”
Anne Smith of the RBL club in Meads Avenue praised members for doing their bit when neither Rother District Council nor East Sussex County Council appeared to take responsibility for maintenance.
“It was a mess,” she said. “All overgrown. Our guys have been doing what they can. The War Memorial is very important to all of us. People parade from here to St Mark’s church for the service and then there is the wreath-laying ceremony on the Sunday, and then we go there on the 11th as well.”
Elizabeth Downs, outgoing branch secretary - also chairman of the War Memorial Committee which organised for the name of soldier Robert Wood to be added in March 2012 - highlighted the roundabout is “very neglected” and that while separate from the memorial the two elements become one in practice.
She criticised the RBL for refusing to allow individual branches to take responsibility for memorials around Britain and insisting it was the job of local authorities, and also Rother District Council for the decision the roundabout was not part of its maintenance contract because of lack of finance. Rumours of local companies taking over have also so far come to nothing.
“It is a complete impasse,” she said this week.
“The roundabout was a neglected barren waste until Ernie and the others stepped in.”
She said an answer could be for local RBL branches to assume ownership of War Memorials but at present members cannot pay for any work that needs doing from Legion funds. A RBL spokesman confirmed that care of War Memorials across Britain falls under the responsibility of local authorities.