County council committed to safeguarding Vernatt’s Drain war memorial

SWRR north
Spalding Western Relief Road artists render

The memorial to Pilot Officer George Furniss near Vernatt’s Drain is likely to be temporarily moved to ensure its safety as construction of the Spalding Western Relief Road progresses.

The memorial will likely be temporarily relocated approximately ten metres away from its current location from June, as relief road and bridge replacement works progress. Once moved, it would stay at this location until the end of 2022 to ensure its safety.

Prior to this, the memorial will be temporarily fenced off for ground investigations from Monday 21 February for up to two weeks.

Karen Cassar, assistant director for highways, said: “To ensure the safety of the memorial commemorating Pilot Officer George Furniss, we’ll likely be moving it away from its current location early this summer until works nearby are finished.

“A number of large construction vehicles, including massive cranes and piling rigs, will be crossing through the area as we rebuild Two Plank Bridge and construct the new relief road – and the last thing we want is to accidentally damage the plaque that’s been installed here.

“Over the coming months, we’ll be working closely with local councillors and the district council to determine the exact place to relocate the memorial if it needs to be moved. We have also offered to make improvements to the memorial, like adding a flower bed or providing a different style plinth.

“I want to assure everyone that the memorial will remain accessible to visitors throughout our works and that, if we move it, it will be put back at its original location once we’re certain it will be safe.”

Work on the northern section of the Spalding Western Relief Road started on Monday 10 January. In addition to building a new five-arm roundabout on Spalding Road and a T-junction next to Vernatt's Drain and a new bridge over the Lincoln to Peterborough rail line, the project will also include replacing the current Two Plank Bridge.

The crossing over the Vernatt's will be replaced with a new 16-tonne, wider bridge will be made of steel, making it more hard-wearing and easier to maintain than the current wooden crossing which is easily damaged.

For more information about the Spalding Western Relief Road project, visit

Published: 15th February 2022