‘Out of touch’ - Angry reaction to £4,000 mayoral chain refurbishment plans

Former Dereham mayor Linda Monument wearing the chain in 2013

Former Dereham mayor Linda Monument wearing the chain in 2013 - Credit: Matthew Usher

A council plan which could see more than £4,000 spent on refurbishing a mayoral chain has been branded “insensitive” and “out of touch”.

Dereham Town Council agreed to spend at least £3,200 - possibly rising to more than £4,000 - refurbishing its mayoral chains, including a new velvet collar and case which would cost £725, at a meeting on Tuesday.

The news was met with disdain from residents.

“It’s a huge amount of money for something so redundant,” said Katie Spear. “In these uncertain times the council needs to be supporting the people of Dereham - not spending thousands on archaic symbols of power that have no place in today’s world.”

Kerry Louise said: “There are people in our community losing their jobs. It’s extremely insensitive for them to propose it at a time like this.”

“During lockdown, local government helped provide food for those in need.” said Suzanne Hitchman. “Those people are surely still in need, so why not allocate the funds to those who would really value it? It would earn my respect more than spending on jewellery.”

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“The town council are out of touch with what is happening all around us,” said Trudy Hudson, “and the devastating effect this virus has had on local businesses. Wrong priorities and definitely the wrong time.”

Responding to the concerns, town councillor Linda Monument said: “Although it sounds like a lot of money, if you average out that cost over the number of years we hope it will last, it’s not going to amount to much.”

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The chain has not had any maintenance since 1973. The refurbishment is expected to give it 20 to 30 years of further use.

MORE: Cockerels given extra year to quit town allotments“People would be embarrassed if we wore a chain that looked a disgrace. It was beginning to be shabby and difficult to wear.” said Ms Monument.

Asked whether now was the best time for the refurbishment, she said that “one of the reasons it’s waited so long is that it’s difficult to find four to six weeks in any normal year when it can be done, so this is the right time.”

“We’re not bursting our budgets to spend it, nor does it take away from money we would use for grants or charitable uses,” Ms Monument added.

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