Oakenshaw residents hold fourth protest in village: “We want our cross back”
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The Oakenshaw Cross is a Grade II listed monument which was erected in 1702 by a local aristocrat in memory of his wife and child who both died during childbirth. Since the cross was erected the monument has remained an integral part of Oakenshaw’s heritage and history
However, this much-loved historic monument was removed by the authorities a year ago today, on March 30, following multiple vehicle strikes which caused the historic monument to become ‘dangerous’ and ‘misaligned’.
Now, over one year later and despite residents being told by the local authorities that the cross on Wyke Lane would be repaired and returned, residents are yet to see their beloved monument reinstated, leaving them ‘very annoyed’ and ‘concerned’.
To mark the removal of the Oakenshaw Cross the residents held their fourth protest today (Thursday), calling on Kirklees Council for more answers and to reinstate the cross back where it belongs.
Ian Ridley, organiser of the protest said: “People really, really care about the monument. It is part of our history and we want it back with the appropriate traffic control measures to make the road safe.
“It is important that we get it back and we will continue to protest, to make the council aware that we want our monument back and that we want answers.
“We had a great turnout this morning. A Lot of people have put themselves out today, especially with it being mid-week. I wish to thank them all, including the Spen Civic Society, for their support.”
As well as being well-attended by members of the local community the protest was also attended by Coun Andrew Pinnock and Coun John Lawson, councillors for the Cleckheaton ward.
Coun Pinnock, said: "The local residents have a great deal of interest in this, as you can tell by the number of people who have been here today.
“There is a very strong feeling that the cross should go back where it has been for 300 years.
“This monument is an unusual part of their history and is something not every community has got. We want it back.
“It is not in anybody's interest to have a historic monument not where it should be.
“However, one of the things that should happen before it is put back is a proper archaeological investigation of this site.”
The residents say that they were informed by Kirklees Council on January 31, this year that “no funding had been allocated for any restoration and reinstatement work”, with the cross remaining in secure storage.
However, Kirklees Council say that discussions are still ‘ongoing’ in regards to the reinstatement of the Oakenshaw Cross.
Colin Parr, Kirklees Council’s strategic director for environment and climate said: “Discussions are ongoing about a suitable site for safe reinstatement of the Oakenshaw Cross and potential funding sources for this work.
“The cross was safely removed by the council last year and stored in a secure location, following multiple vehicle strikes which caused the cross to become misaligned and dangerous, posing significant risk to vehicles and pedestrians.”