A ROW over plans to erect a War Memorial in a Ryedale village has erupted with a school trust being described as 'disrespectful' to those who served their country.

Rillington Parish Council has been working on a project to erect a War Memorial in remembrance of those from the village who died whilst serving the nation.

A spokesperson for the council said the memorial was for the community therefore members felt it was important to be central to the village.

"The location also needs to meet the requirements of Highways and North Yorkshire Council," they added.

"Rillington Primary School is a central point of the community and as such the Parish Council felt the ideal location would be the grassed area outside the front of the school boundary fence. The grassed area to the front of the school boundary fence is considered part of the school site. North Yorkshire Council and Highways have confirmed that this location meets their requirements.

"The Parish Council made a formal approach to Elevate Multi Academy Trust, of which Rillington Primary School is a member, to obtain their agreement to use this site to erect the memorial."

The spokesperson added: "The Chair of the Trust Board, John Brear and the CEO Nigel Ashley have written to the Parish Council stating that “we do not feel comfortable with the idea of a War Memorial being constructed on the grassed area adjacent to the academy entrance” claiming this is because of their Health & Safety concerns for doing so.

"The site of the Primary School is currently leased to the Elevate Academy Trust by North Yorkshire Council.

"North Yorkshire Council has offered to amend the Academy’s lease to exclude this piece of land, which they are currently unable to use as it is outside the boundary fence. They would then arrange to lease the land to the Parish Council to use to site the War Memorial.

"However, in the Academy’s letter they go on to state that they have considered the proposal, “but this would not address our concerns” and that they “refuse to agree to such a surrender or to the construction of the War Memorial”. The Trust also stated “that they will not entertain any further discussion in relation to the proposed War Memorial”.

"The trust includes schools who have catchment areas covering RAF Leeming, RAF Fylingdales and Allenbrooke Barracks and will have a substantial number of students from forces families so the Parish Council finds it difficult to understand why the academy have so little understanding on the importance of remembrance."

"Rillington Parish Council and other local residents are astounded at the Academy’s opposition to a War Memorial being erected outside their boundary fence and unable to understand why the academy trust believe that people who wish to give their respects to the fallen pose Health & Safety concerns."

Elevate Multi Academy Trust , based in Thirsk, currently has 13 member schools including Rillington and Thornton-le-Dale.

CEO Nigel Ashley, said: "As a Trust with many children of service men and women, we are very disappointed to be seen as anything but respectful to all those who serve in our armed forces. In making the decision, it was our understanding that the memorial would be within the fence line of the school and therefore a health and safety issue if members of the public were on the school site. If this is not the case, I would like to apologise to the community and state that we would be happy to transfer the land for the war memorial."