Stormy meeting over burial plots

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A ROW over the number of vacant plots in Long Sutton cemetery resulted in a councillor walking out of last week’s meeting.

Coun Bobbie Ashton packed up her paperwork and left the meeting after repeated questions by Coun Julian Browse about the cemetery, which has already resulted in a Freedom of Information request.

In spite of next month’s extraordinary meeting to discuss the matter, and talk of a public meeting about a new cemetery for the town, he refused to lay they matter to rest.

Coun Browse said: “Eighteen months ago we were told the Cinder Ash cemetery was running out of plots. I have been waiting ten months to get information about how many plots are left. Where are the plans?”

Chairman Coun John Clarey told him he had already had plans, but Coun Browse said: “They were the size of a postage stamp – you can’t see anything from that. Where are the proper plans?”

Clerk Karen Treacher explained they were buried in the vaults at the bank. She said: “It would take too much time to find them.”

Ms Treacher explained there are plots left because people are no longer reserving more than one at a time. She said: “People who reserved two are now reserving one – with the first to die being buried and the second having their ashes scattered or interred.”

But she said even with the plans it was difficult to say how many plots are left. She said: “It’s not that straightforward to say how many plots are left. Bodies move and so sometimes what you think should be a plot isn’t at all.”

Coun Browse said: “If the clerk needs more time, surely we should be voting to extend her hours.”

At this point, Ms Treacher took Coun Browse’s comments as a personal attack on her work. She said: “If you continue to embarrass me in public I will take legal action against you.”

Coun Clarey again stressed that a discussion about the FOI request had been arranged. He said: “We have an extraordinary meeting arranged for next time.”

A final outburst came when Coun Browse claimed he had not realised the time had been switched to a 6pm start to discuss the FOI at the previous meeting and he hoped he had the correct information so he did not miss the next one.

The discussion ended when Coun Ashton gathered her things together, stood up and walked out of the meeting, saying: “I am not staying to listen to this any more.”