MP’s column: Desecration must be prevented

Sir Edward Leigh
Sir Edward Leigh

There are few greater pleasures in life than owning a dog. Their loyalty and unconditional love are rewards in and of themselves, but the care of dogs carries responsibilities as well.

I am particularly aware of this as our beagle is a keen explorer with an unfortunate propensity for running away.

Recently, many local residents in Gainsborough have been disturbed to find the graves of loved ones fouled by dogs, whether in liquid or solid form.

Respect for the dead is one of the marks of a truly civilised society and it is a shame to hear that this is going on.

If dog walkers make use of cemeteries for walks then they must monitor their pets’ behaviour at all times.

It is vital to prevent this kind of desecration, which can be deeply upsetting to the living loved ones of the deceased, from taking place.

With that in mind, West Lindsey District Council is holding a consultation to inform the decision on whether or not a Public Space Protection Order should be placed on Gainsborough General Cemetery and North Warren Cemetery.

This PSPO is regarding proposed restrictions on the control of dogs, the consumption of alcohol, and the use of motor vehicles.

An online petition has already attracted hundreds of signatures, and I encourage all local residents to have their say regarding the proposals.

You can make a contribution to the consultation online by going to www.west-lindsey.gov.uk/gtc-cemeteries.

Back in Westminster, significant worries remain regarding the proposed restoration and renewal of the Houses of Parliament.

This is one of the most important, most historic, and most iconic buildings in the entirety of the United Kingdom. Because of the wiring and electrics, there is a significant threat that fire may break out in the enclosed spaces between the walls of the Palace.

It is universally agreed that we must preserve the historical and architectural integrity of the building. But aspects of the plan for re-housing Parliament while the Palace is renovated are as absurd as they are infuriatingly wasteful.

Why must we tear down a Grade II*-listed building by a pioneering postmodern architect to build a temporary Commons chamber that will be built to a permanent standard?

Once the renovations to the Palace are complete it will become a useless white elephant.

That Richmond House, the listed building in question, is actually a perfectly usable office building well within its expected period of use is indisputable. I myself had a look round it the other day.

Aside from being an architectural crime, tearing it down would be an egregious waste of money.

Its architect, Sir William Whitfield, died just the other week – a few days short of his hundredth birthday. What a shame that the last time his name was in the headlines just before his death was because of plans to demolish one of his finest buildings.

MPs are here to exercise scrutiny and to prevent the government from wasting taxpayers’ money. We continue to promote a more cost-effective solution.

Sir Edward Leigh MP

Gainsborough Constituency