A battle is looming over a project to place a £250,000 replica tank in Trowbridge Park as part of the town’s First World War centenary commemorations.
A committee from the town’s annual Armed Forces Day presented proposals to build and base a decorative Mark IV Female 222 vehicle in the park during Trowbridge Town Council’s direct services group on Tuesday night.
The plan acknowledges that Trowbridge Park was previously home to a Mark IV Female tank which was given to the town after the First World War to recognise the staggering £1m residents raised in support of the military effort.
The vehicle was displayed in the park from 1919 until the Second World War when it was used as part of the national scrap metal drive for that campaign.
Trowbridge town councillor Andrew Bryant said: “I believe this to be a thoroughly misguided and ill-judged venture that does little, if anything, to promote Trowbridge as a tolerant and progressive town in which to reside.”
Sylvia Wardle, secretary of the West Wiltshire Military Vehicle Trust, presented the plans and said the tank would be a huge benefit to the town - in particular for children studying the First World War.
Retired personal assistant Mrs Wardle, who lives in The Tynings, Westbury, said: “It will make a very fitting tribute to all those who served during the war and to all those in Trowbridge who supported the war effort.”
During Tuesday’s meeting, at Trowbridge Civic Centre, the direct services group decided to refer Mrs Wardle’s proposal to full council who will discuss the matter at their next meeting on March 18.
If the replica tank receives backing from the town council, Mrs Wardle will apply to the Heritage Lottery Fund to help finance the project and get quotes to build the vehicle.
Campaigners hope to have the tank in place by 2016 and Mrs Wardle said she would like to see the region’s schools and colleges getting involved with the plans through an oral history project and photography exhibition with images of the original tank being sought.
She said: “Young children would remember being involved with a project like this all their lives.”
For more information or to get involved email Mrs Wardle on firstname.lastname@example.org.