Germans Battle To Save ‘Little Britain’ Tank

A 52-tonne British tank is at the centre of a dispute between a former Royal Signals reservist and his German neighbours.

The demilitarised Centurion tank is part of an exhibition called 'Little Britain' run by Gary Blackburn at his home near Bonn.

Mr Blackburn says he set up the museum after the Brexit vote to improve relations with the Germans:

“I thought, what can I do to make a statement? Is Brexit good or not good? Also a place where English and German people could come and speak about things.”

Centurion tank at Little Britain museum in Germany
Gary Blackburn says his Centurion tank is a 'peace monument'.

But the tank has attracted complaints and the local German authorities say the display breaches planning regulations and has to go.

Mr Blackburn says the tank is a peace monument that was partly inspired by his family’s wartime experiences.

His grandfather was severely wounded at the Battle of the Somme.

Centurion Tank
Hundreds of visitors have signed a petition to save the museum.

The tank now has an electric motor and has become a vehicle again:

“Now it moves on solar power – energy from house roof so I think it’s probably the first one in the world so now I don’t need building permission anymore.”

But local authorities say building regulations require him to close the museum down until he has the correct paperwork. Mr Blackburn explained:

"They told me to take things away and hopefully in the near future I can put things back again."

Life-size model of the Queen at the Little Britain museum
A life-size model of the Queen is one of the star attractions at Little Britain.

The mix of exhibits include life-size models of the Queen and Mr Bean, which share space in his garden with a classic red telephone box and two London buses.

Hundreds of visitors have signed a petition to save the museum and the threat of closure has also prompted intense media interest.

Mr Blackburn says he has now submitted fresh planning applications and is confident they will be approved.

German politicians are now backing the campaign to save 'Little Britain' and the hope is that it will reopen soon.

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