October 23 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, March 13, 2014
A town council will set up a working group to re-write its cemetery policy after a decision to go against its own rules caused distress amongst the community.
Swaffham Town councillors last month made the controversial decision to give Jill Skinner permission to have a kerbstone at her husband’s grave, despite going against the council’s policy.
The issue caused lengthy debate at the town council’s meeting last month when they voted in favour of the kerbstone. It was then brought back before councillors by Sheila Lister, who objected to the kerbstone, at an extraordinary meeting, but the decision was upheld.
This week, at the council’s latest meeting, angered and distressed members of the public voiced their views.
Mrs Cross was in tears as she told council members she was not allowed a kerbstone for her husband’s grave, and other members of the public said they were not permitted one for their relative’s memorial.
Town mayor Anne Thorp apologised on behalf of the council for any distressed caused and councillor Shirley Matthews said “we messed up”.
Councillors also stressed that Mrs Skinner was not given preferential treatment because she was a councillor, but the application was considered at face value. Some councillors, including Mrs Lister, Mrs Matthews and Paul Darby, did not want to go against the council rules.
The council later decided to grant Mrs Cross permission for a kerbstone and said they will form a working group to come up with a new policy for the cemetery.