HENLEY Parish Council has been accused of damaging the town’s historic Market Cross.
Former councillor George Matheou claims the council has damaged the 15th century monument by digging a hole for a flagpole less than a metre from it – but parish council chairmain Bill Leech has rubbished the claim.
Mr Matheou told the Observer: “In 2010/11 major conservation work was undertaken to keep the monument safe and in good order.
“We were advised that no drilling or digging should be done close to the monument and I personally passed this information onto the parish council on several occasions.
“Our Market Cross is a nationally important archaeological site and as such it is protected by law. No works should be carried out close to the monument which may disturb the ground.
“What the council has done is in an incomprehensible and reckless act.”
Mr Matheou sent photographs to the Observer showing the purported damage caused by the flagpole hole. He claims all cracks and gaps were filled in during the conservation work but have now reappeared.
Coun Leech said: “It’s absolutely ludicrous to suggest that the Market Cross has been damaged.
“It’s a small hole well away from it.
“The plans were approved by Historic England and the council after we submitted very detailed drawings.”