September 24th, 2016

Graves row may lead to a pricey parish poll

Updated: 10:26 am, May 07, 2015

A PARISH poll costing £3,000 could be held if an action group calling for changes to Studley’s cemetery do not select two people to become councillors.

The decision made by Studley Parish Council came after residents called for a full parish meeting to reverse a rule change which bans people from placing solar lights, glass items, scarves and other items on graves.

But on Tuesday (October 21) councillors said those who requested the meeting must organise it themselves, while the council preferred to start with ‘a blank page’ and work with members of the pressure group to reach a mutual decision.

Coun Jim Bacon put forward a motion to resign from the council to allow a member of the group to be co-opted on to the council along with another member who would replace Coun Mark Roskell.

“There will be two vacancies on this council. They can be co-opted by the council and they can take part in the meeting and provide a fair and democratic view.” he said.

Coun Susan Redman put forward another motion calling for a parish poll on cemetery rules if members of the action group refused to join the council.

The poll would cost an estimated £3,000 and would have to be funded through residents’ council tax.

The motions were backed by the majority of councillors, but Coun Sandra Crofts and Coun Thomas O’Hanlon said they did not want to support Coun Bacon’s resignation.

Coun Crofts added the council needed to know the exact changes the group wanted to make before coming to any decision, while Coun O’Hanlon said although the council went through the official consultation process, mistakes were clearly made.

Chairman Julian Ingram said it was an issue the council wanted to resolve as soon as possible and in the best interests of everyone.

Speaking after the meeting Karen Brown, whose petition calling for the rules to be overturned has been backed by over 957 signatures so far, said there was a possibility two people could join the council but they still wanted a parish meeting.

“I cannot understand why the council put forward a motion for a parish poll, that’s a stage further ahead.

“The full parish meeting would provide an opportunity to have a vote which would indicate what the people want without having any great costs.”