'We'll be sensitive' pledge over memorial to Harrison May 31 2004
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By Alan Weston, Daily Post
APPROVAL for a George Harrison memorial in Liverpool is still awaited nearly three years after the former Beatle's death.
Both Capital of Culture leader Sir Bob Scott and the council's chief executive David Henshaw are liaising with Harrison's widow Olivia to develop a suitable scheme.
But they stress it is still at a "sensitive" stage and no site or timescale has yet been agreed. One suggestion is that the memorial could take the form of a garden in Sefton Park's Palm House, since Harrison supported its refurbishment.
The city is anxious to avoid the war of words that has broken out in Harrison's adopted home of Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, where another memorial is planned.
His widow has accused some of her local councillors of behaviour "bordering on the offensive" over the issue.
The couple lived in Friar Park, a mansion in its own estate overlooking Henley.
The council first suggested the project 18 months ago, but Mrs Harrison vetoed plans for a memorial near Friar Park, fearing her home would be overrun by Beatles fans.
Alternative sites were discussed, and a flower bed under a bridge crossing the Thames has been planted in his honour.
But Mrs Harrison was enraged after a council meeting in which Henley's Mayor, Chris Pye, said she needed "kicking into gear."
He said: "It has been going on for too long and we have had no decision from her regarding a memorial. She cannot keep fobbing us off because she cannot be bothered to see us."
She wrote in reply: "This makes me wonder whether it might be best to abandon the proposal altogether."
She denied accusations that she had been "fobbing off" the council, saying she had "two intense years of family matters to attend to."
"I am very aware that the impact of a hasty decision could have long-term implications for the family and the town," she said.
Some councillors believe Harrison's profile in the town was too low to justify spending public funds on a memorial.
One councillor, Barry Wood, said: "No disrespect, but I do not think he acknowledged this town openly."
The council recommended Mrs Harrison be given until the end of July.
A spokesman for Liverpool council said it was still waiting for a decision from Mrs Harrison.
He said: "It is something that's got to be handled sensitively, and we are in discussion with George's family to decide what is the most appropriate tribute to him.
"Part of those discussions is finding a suitable site for the memorial."