The POLISH community in Trowbridge is pressing for a response to its offer to donate a Spitfire Memorial to commemorate the town’s contribution to building the famous fighter planes that helped win the Battle of Britain.

The offer was made to Trowbridge well over a year ago by Dr Simon Selby, the Republic of Poland’s honorary consul for the South West, but they are still waiting for Wiltshire Council to give it the go-ahead.

The council has been accused of dragging its heels on saying yes to the offer because it has yet to finalise a guidance document for art and design in the public realm.

Cllr Antonio Piazza, the Trowbridge town and Wiltshire ward member for Drynham, has written to Wiltshire Council leader Cllr Richard Clewer and senior officers asking for progress on the offer.

He said: “I brought it to the leader, cabinet, portfolio holders and officers over a year ago from memory but we have seen no progress. We are just asking for them to get on and deliver it.

“The public are completely in support of it. Is there a timeline when this document should be ready?”

The Polish community have offered to pay for the memorial as many of their people flew the Spitfire planes during the Second World War alongside British pilots in Britain’s defence.

The memorial would comprise of three 1/8th scale Spitfire planes on plinths, with various stones set around the edge. These would reflect the flags of the various allied nations that helped to defend Britain during WWII.

Similar Spitfire Memorials have already been sited by Hudson’s Field in Salisbury and in Birmingham on the A452 roundabout located between the Castle Vale estate and the Jaguar car factory.

The Trowbridge memorial would be located on the roundabout at the far end of the A363 Bradley Road close to the Spitfire Retail Park, where the former Spitfire factory was located before it was demolished.

Wiltshire Times: The Spitfire Memorial plinths would be located on A363 roundabout close to the Spitfire Retail Park in TrowbridgeThe Spitfire Memorial plinths would be located on A363 roundabout close to the Spitfire Retail Park in Trowbridge (Image: Dr Simon Selby)

Dr Selby said: “Primarily, this memorial display would be a gift from the Polish community in and around Trowbridge to the people of the town, commemorating the fact that so many Poles flew Spitfires alongside British flyers in defence of this land.

“It would also commemorate the fact that some of those very planes may well have been built here.”

Several businesses, individuals and the Trowbridge Museum are all backing the project and Dr Selby says it requires "minimal involvement" from Trowbridge Town Council and Wiltshire Council to go ahead.

The A363 Bradley Road roundabout is currently home to four rather ill-looking Ash trees, some of which may be suffering from the deadly Ash dieback disease. The proposal is to remove them so the three planes can be located on plinths set in concrete.

The roundabout is on a very busy main route into Trowbridge from the A350 and Westbury and Cllr Piazza hopes it will stop locals from referring to the site as McDonald’s rather than the Spitfire Retail Park.

But Dr Selby and Cllr Piazza say the offer is being stopped from going ahead by the length of time Wiltshire Council is taking to finalise its guidance document for art and design in the public realm.

This was scheduled to be ready by June/July but has still not received final approval and is due to be included in another supplementary planning document going out to consultation early next year.

Cllr Richard Clewer, Leader of Wiltshire Council, said: "We are keen to commemorate and draw attention to Trowbridge’s role in the production of spitfires, however we would like to see a more joined up approach to public art across the county.

“We are currently finalising a Public Art Policy which will advise developers, town and parish councils and other organisations on the implementation of public art. It will also help to link up public art across the county and encourage the development of public art as place-shaping infrastructure where appropriate.

“We are aiming for the Public Art Policy to be in place early in the new year, at which time we will consider the various ideas to commemorate Wiltshire’s role in spitfire production.”