CONCERN over the cost of a poll on changes to burial ground rules at Studley parish church has prompted a local resident to put four councillors on the spot.
Couns Jill Beard, Karen Somner-Brown, Colin Summers, and Brian Dixon are behind a drive that would see items like solar lights, flags, windmills and scarves allowed on graves at the local cemetery.
The quartet arrived on the parish council after the local elections in May, saying they had a petition signed by 1,000 residents backing their call for change – however that petition was never checked.
Since then the council has failed to reach agreement over the burial ground rules, prompting a move to put it to villagers in a poll likely to cost thousands of pounds of council taxpayers’ money.
Now the former parish chairman, Julian Ingram, has queried the petition and put in a Freedom of Information request asking the four councillors:
1.What was the petition collecting signatures for or against, specifically the wording used to set out the reason for it?
2.How many Studley residents who participated were listed on the electoral role and therefore eligible to sign it?
3.How many signatures were valid, that is, supported with a Studley address and contact details?
4.How many signatures were invalid according to the rules of petitioning council?
5.Based on the latest electoral role, what percentage of the village supported the objectives of the petition?
Council chairman Coun Paul Beaman passed the matter over to the four in question to comply and Coun Dixon said they would be open and honest in dealing with the issue.
Speaking after the meeting Mr Ingram said: “Let’s get this out in the open – when I was chairman of the parish council we had nine months of consultation on this issue and only three people came forward. We do not want to be wasting council taxpayers’ money on this issue.”