THE future of the town's cenotaph will be decided tomorrow.
A vote on the memorial's relocation, which has sparked fury among the area's ex-service ranks and many members of the public, will be taken at the end of a special meeting of the full council at 6.15pm.
There have been rumours the ruling Labour group will be 'whipped' into voting to move the memorial to the edge of the square to make way for an elaborate water feature in the middle.
Yesterday, council leader Fred Venables could not confirm if this would be the case.
He explained: 'The issue must come to a vote and I hope it will be a free vote but we won't know this until after our group meeting on Wednesday night.'
Cllr Venables stressed he did not want the issue to become a political one and that every councillor should be allowed to evaluate it in their own right.
The council is already financially committed to moving the memorial as part of a £3m facelift of the square, for which it has obtained Government cash.
Asked whether, given this commitment, the cenotaph could be left where it is, Cllr Venables said: 'Before agreeing to that, we would need to know if this would lead to additional expenditure.'
Cllr Venables conceded that the idea of leaving the memorial where it is and putting the water feature on the edge of the square instead 'could be explored'.
He added that he hoped there could be 'some flexibility' in the discussions tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Yvonne Innes, secretary of the Royal British Legion's Ellesmere Port branch, which has spearheaded the campaign against the relocation, said: 'We are going in fighting.
'There will be quite a few of our supporters at tomorrow evening's meeting and we are hoping councillors will do the right thing.
'I think we have quite a bit of support from some councillors and we know that a number of them have been surprised that leaving the cenotaph where it is has never been an option.'
Yvonne said if the vote did go against them tomorrow, campaigners had other strategies planned.
Last week, the group handed in a petition to the council bearing the signatures of almost 5,000 who want the cenotaph to stay put.