A PETITION against changes to burial ground rules at Studley parish cemetery which claimed to have nearly 1,000 signatures in fact only had 454 with a Studley address – less than 10 per cent of the village’s population.
Of these only 418 were on the electoral roll while 149 were invalid.
The findings were revealed at a parish council meeting on Wednesday evening (August 26) following a Freedom of Information request by former chairman of the parish council Julian Ingram.
The petition had been driven by local residents Karen Somner Brown, Brian Dixon, Jill Beard and Colin Summers – all now parish councillors – in a bid to get the burial ground rules reversed.
This would have resulted in items like solar lights, flags, banners, windmills and scarves being permitted on individual graves.
However many thought this would harm the overall appearance of the cemetery as well as upset other mourners.
A further e-petition raised by the four was discounted by the parish council because it contained names from all over the world as well as the UK.
Parish chairman Coun Paul Beaman said: “We have no way of knowing if they are Studley residents as amongst it are names from New Zealand to New York.”
Coun Sandra Croft agreed: “I looked at this on the grounds of fairness for the people of Studley and this was a fair way to do it.”
Coun Beaman said the findings of the FOI meant that the council had strong enough evidence to re-consider a decision for a village poll on the issue – which would have cost residents £2-3,000 – and instead suggested that they put the matter out for further consultation with villagers.