South Ribble Council apologises to Lewis Turner's family following removal of memorial items
The council also assure the family that the items will be returned, and that they are considering an alternative memorial option.
South Ribble Council has apologised to the family of Lewis Turner, following the removal of items at his memorial last Friday.
20 year old Lewis Turner died following a road collision at the Wham Lane junction in New Longton on August 21, and a memorial has since formed at the site of the incident.
Yesterday, the Post reported on the family's anger at the removal of the memorial items by South Ribble Council, which Lewis's brother, Jordan, said had caused them even more pain.
Today, the council confirmed to the Post that they had to remove the memorial items due to complaints from members of the public regarding the length of time the memorial had been allowed to stay in place, who argued it caused issues for accessibility, and was an "eyesore".
However the council also offered their condolences to the family, and assured the safe return of the memorial items, which Jordan previously said had not happened yet.
In a statement, Councillor Aniela Bylinski Gelder, Cabinet Member for Communities, Social Justice and Wealth Building at South Ribble Borough Council, said: “We’re sorry for any hurt or upset caused by the removal of these items and express our deepest condolences to Lewis’s family and friends at this incredibly difficult time.
“All flowers and other items are being kept safe and we have been liaising with Lancashire Constabulary’s family liaison officer to ensure they can be presented to the family as soon as can be arranged.
“We understand the police will be in contact with the family as soon as they are able, to ensure this is done in an appropriate manner. In the meantime, Council officers are more than willing to speak with the family directly if this can be arranged.
“We do support the idea of a more permanent tribute to Lewis, although any addition to the highway would also need to be authorised by Lancashire County Council. We are also happy to discuss any other potential options with the family.
“Finally, on behalf of everybody at South Ribble Borough Council, I would once again like to pass on our sincere condolences to Lewis’s family and friends. Our thoughts are with them.”
Jordan Turner had previously told the Post that he was disappointed in the lack of communication from South Ribble Council in regards to the removal of the items, and that he believed the council should focus on improving the safety of the junction instead.
In response, a spokesperson for the council says they have been trying to get in touch with the police’s family liaison officer in order to inform them of the items removal, as well as ensure their safe return, and they regret that there has been a delay in communication.
In regards to the junction, the spokesperson added that the highways are the responsibility of Lancashire County Council, although South Ribble Council officers have been liaising with them since this incident and understand that the LCC are planning some improvements in the area.
The Post has approached the Lancashire County Council for confirmation of this but are yet to have received a comment.
Contact has also now been made between the South Ribble Council and the Turner family to discuss the issue further.