A row has started over the cost of repairs at Pinchbeck Parish Church just as villagers face a “hefty increase” in their council tax bills.
Parish councilllors have questioned spending up to £13,000 on the wall and gate outside St Mary’s Church, having set aside just £5,000 for the work.
People aren’t objecting to paying it but that it’s gone up by so much in just one hit and once you’ve got the precept that high, you won’t want to see it go downEmma Halfteck, of Pinchbeck
During a parish council meeting at Pinchbeck Community Hub and Library on Monday, members were given legal advice that maintenance of churchyard wall and gate was their responsibility.
In January, members agreed to raise its council tax share from £46,500 in 2017-18 to £108,342 in 2018-19, with average Band D figure going up from £27.54 to £63.14, a 129 per cent increase.
During her parish council chairman’s report for 2017-18, Coun Emma Beavis said: “Following great consideration for our most recent budget, the precept was set at £108,342 which is a hefty increase from that of the previous year.
“It is hoped that this is a temporary measure to allow us to carry out essential works in the parish and, at the same time, plan for the future by exploring the possibility of a new burial ground at the edge of the village.”
But when the meeting moved on to discussing details of an architect’s report on work needed at St Mary’s, Coun Andrew Bowser said: “We haven’t got any more money in our budget for repairs at the church.
“It’s ridiculous spending £13,000 on a stone wall and is that what our parishioners want?”
In a statement for our sister newspaper, the Lincolnshire Free Press, last month, the Vicar of Pinchbeck, the Reverend David Sweeting said: “Once a churchyard has been closed, the law provides for the maintenance of that burial ground to be undertaken by the local authority.
“In the case of St Mary’s, that means Pinchbeck Parish Council is the civic authority bearing this responsibility and I understand that it has identified that the boundary wall and gateway of the churchyard are in need of repair.”
Meanwhile, villagers’ reaction to the precept increase came from Emma Halfteck who, during Monday’s meeting, said: “People aren’t objecting to paying it because we want to see things maintained in the village.
“But my objection is that it’s gone up by so much in just one hit and once you’ve got the precept that high, you won’t want to see it go down.
“That is what’s getting everyone annoyed.”