Workington wife memorial crucifix 'can stay in place'

Crucifix on Workington slag banks Image copyright Peter Nelson
Image caption Peter Nelson erected the steel figure on the slag banks above Workington, Cumbria, last year.

A man who built a 9ft (3m) tall crucifix in tribute to his late wife without planning permission has been told it can stay in place.

Peter Nelson erected the steel figure on a hill overlooking Workington, Cumbria, after wife Angela died.

The local council had received objections it would spur a string of copycat memorials.

But a retrospective application for permission was approved after about 1,800 supporters signed a petition.

Allerdale Borough councillors decided the "size, siting, materials and design" of the cross, on the industrial town's slag banks, were acceptable.

The council had received six letters of objection, criticising the memorial's appearance, questioning its safety and suggesting others would follow suit, leaving the area "littered by memorials".

'Divine intervention'

Mr Nelson said he had been "overwhelmed" by public support.

"I didn't mean to upset anybody," he said.

"I was just in a bad place at the time and something made me go and put a cross on the top of a lonely hill in Workington."

Mr Nelson said there was "almost divine intervention" when he and some friends erected the crucifix on a Sunday morning last year.

"We were surrounded by mist and fog and nobody could see us," he said.

The structure was approved by five votes to four, with one abstention.

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