Covid memorial shelved after 'disappointing' public response

Downham Market Town Council. Picture: Ian Burt

Downham Market Town Council. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

A town council plans to revisit and discuss a proposal for a Covid memorial following a lack of public response to its consultation.

Downham Market Town Council discussed the idea at an annual town council meeting on Tuesday, May 4 after it launched a consultation on it earlier in the year.

New mayor Jenny Groom said the proposal was "instigated" by a member of the public who thought the council should consider having a Covid memorial for the town.

The Downham Market annual town council meeting took place on Tuesday, May 4.

The Downham Market annual town council meeting took place on Tuesday, May 4. - Credit: Downham Market Town Council

She said following consultation the council received 11 comments in response, five of which were positive and six negative, which she said was not enough to make a judgement on the matter.

The mayor said: "There is no doubt that Covid has actually affected all of us and the way we live, and are we ever going to return to the way before Covid? 

"Some kind of memorial would be very fitting, but I think it's something we ought to revisit further down the line."

Ms Hayes said 11 responses was "really disappointing" and that the council should not make a decision yet.

New deputy mayor Jackie Westrop said the overwhelming response was "hostile" when the consultation was put out on social media.

She added: "I think it's too soon and the issue is still too raw."

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The council later discussed not being able to hold a "decision making meeting" at the moment until more information was given on the future of meetings.

Ms Hayes said: "The legislation for Zoom meetings finishes as of May 7 so we are no longer able to meet via Zoom so it has to be done face-to-face, but the current restrictions mean that we're not able to do that.

"We also have to remember we have a duty of care to our staff, until we have clear guidelines on what is safe and appropriate and how we can meet, I think the only option open to us is to postpone any meetings until such a time we can hold them safely for everybody involved."

Frank Daymond asked the council to think about whether meetings should continue to be streamed via Youtube if face-to-face meetings resumed.