WATCHING the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral being devastated by fire was a sad sight to see on Monday night.

The blaze at the medieval landmark had Parisians in tears as they watched the 12th century spires spire collapse, and firefighters tried to battle the fire.

Before I say what sadly needs to be said, I should stress I am gutted this has happened to one of the World's most famous buildings.

I have seen the 800-year-old cathedral close up, and it was a remarkable sight.

But even while the building was on fire, attention quickly moved on to restoring it to its former glory, with French President Emmanuel Macron making the commitment to rebuilding the cathedral.

As I write this I see 600 million Euros, around £520 million, had been pledged from French corporations and wealthy businessman, for the restoration project that could take decades.

And this is where I have a major issue with all this. People rush to want to save a building, while people sleep on the streets of the French capital.

Morally, is this really the best way to spend hundreds of millions over the next 20 to 30 years? I would say not.

It is a matter for the French government and people, but I would argue the same if Westminster Abbey, heck even Worcester Cathedral burned down here.

If a country had ensured its people weren't starving and had decent homes, jobs and public services, I could see an argument to commit to a massive multi-million pound project. But we don't live in that society, and neither do the French people.

Quite simply the focus shouldn't be on rebuilding the collapsed roof of a building built in 1163, when French people don't have a roof over their head in 2019.

The reality too is climate change and the extreme weather it brings is also going to see more issues for the great iconic buildings around the world.

For example the Palace of Westminster is in desperate need of repair, as it crumbles and falls apart. The building is not fit for purpose, but the answer is not to continue spending cash, and instead move to a new venue.

I get these are tough choices, however we have to prioritise people and our 21st century needs, not our history.

And we should celebrate these buildings while we still can.

County councillor's first-hand account of devastating Paris cathedral fire