VILLAGERS have united in a bid to force councillors to u-turn on controversial new rules to ban items on graves.
More than 100 residents turned out for Studley Parish Council’s meeting on Tuesday (October 7) to voice their anger over the changes.
The move means loved ones are no longer allowed to place solar lights, glass items, scarves and flags, windmills or any item which requires a spike to secure it in the ground.
But residents called for councillors to reverse the decision and hold a full parish meeting where everyone could attend and voice their opinions.
Karen Brown, who has organised a petition which over 400 people have signed, said placing items on graves was part of the grieving process and removing them could impact on a child or parent.
“Anyone who works with the bereaved should never push or try to influence the bereaved with their views.” she told the meeting.
“Taking items from graves is removing them from the family they have or the deceased person.
“How many people have been seriously injured or died because of a scarf or windmill?
“Do you want to be the parish council who disrespect or ignore their parishioners about their deceased as well?”
Brian Dixon added he was worried where the rules would stop and asked whether flags draped over coffins and poppies on Remembrance Day would also be banned.
In a statement following the meeting, a spokeswoman for the council said they would not stop flags on coffins or poppy wreathes on graves.
She said they had offered the group the opportunity to take part in a reassessment of the regulations, through a sub-committee but so far nobody had come forward.
She added the council always had and always would consult with residents wherever possible but councillors were unpaid volunteers and their workload had to be balanced, so a sub-committee would reduce the burden on everyone.
Chairman, Coun Julian Ingram, added: “To ensure the process is democratic, we reiterate our request to those who are unhappy with the decision taken, to be a part of the solution.
“The Parish Council is keen to engage with both sides of the debate, and consider that democracy would be best served by a working party and not mass meeting.”
Visit www.studleyparishcouncil.org.uk for details of the proposal and how to contact the council to discuss the changes.